Friday, February 5, 2010

You'se a Holmes (HOLMES!)

I saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes yesterday (you know how seriously I take my Best Art Direction nominees) and I enjoyed it for the most part, though certainly not for the edgy-Dickens art direction nor the Original Score, which was fine or whatever (though, to be honest, paying attention to scores is not one of my critical strong suits). And Ritchie is still very far from an intelligent director; he makes something look interesting once in a while (there's a pretty cool looking scene on a dock with explosions and characters on different planes of action) but he still has absolutely no interest in subtext (the Holmes/Watson relationship here is not a subtext, btw, it's just out there, which is fine). And in a reboot that seems wholly focused on "updating" Sherlock Holmes for a new generation (a fast-paced one that doesn't have attention spans, as we've been told for 2 decades now), they really could barely have found a way to make the denouement any more obvious, clunky, or boring.

Now to Downey's Holmes, which is more obviously human (emotionally) than any Holmes I've seen on the screen. But that's not actually a compliment, just a symptom of the Modern Superhero Cinema, which requires that every Superhero (this is a Superhero movie for sure) be serious and deep (I must thank the screenwriters for sparing us a scene of young Holmes being ignored by his parents or something). It's a tribute to Downey that he is able take this less than interesting rewrite of an iconic character and makes him so goddamn fun (this applies on a smaller scale to Jude Law). Even when the mechanics of the plot, the shallow female characters, and the boring visuals grate, Downey's intelligence and physical skill (he def has some Chaplin in him here, it's not just the hat) keep this movie afloat whenever he's on screen. The Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy was completely on point, it turns out. He's every bit as good here as he was in Iron Man, and probably even more impressive considering the kinda shitty movie he and Law are required to make fun.

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