Sherlock Holmes (2009) – A Movie Review

Guy Ritchie directed this 2009 update of the Sherlock Holmes legend but instead of re-doing one of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories he re-imagined the characters and wrote a screenplay that gives a sort of steam punk feel to the outing.  Robert Downey Jr. is Holmes and Jude Law is his partner in crime detection and chronicler, Dr. Watson.  On the face of it these two men would seem to be completely miscast in these roles.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The script combines equal parts comedy and action adventure.  And both Downey and Law play the parts as if they were born to the roles.  The bickering friendship that they portray is as important a part of the movie as the nefarious doings of the evil Lord Blackwood and the barely glimpsed Professor Moriarty.

The plot involves the resurrection from the dead of a hanged man, Lord Blackwell who engaged in satanic rituals and is linked to a powerful masonic secret society in London.  All sorts of strange goings on have baffled Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard and with the sometimes assistance, sometimes sabotage by Holmes’ femme fatale, Irene Adler and the reluctant presence of Watson’s fiancée, Mary Morstan, they pursue the truth behind the unbelievable return from the dead of Lord Blackwell and discover and attempt to foil his devious plot to gain control of the world.

I am a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I’ve watched all the previous cinematic versions, the Basil Rathbone movies and the Jeremy Brett series by Granada Television.  I don’t take anything away from these older series but what Guy Ritchie has created is a new and highly entertaining take on the characters.  You can probably tell that I am highly enthusiastic about this film and the also excellent sequel.  The chemistry that Downey and Law have on the screen is marvelously entertaining and must be a combination of their acting skills and the truly excellent script and direction.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to fans of Sherlock Holmes, to action-adventure fans and to movie fans of all stripes.  Find it and watch it.

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