This Victorian tale was filmed by the man behind films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and RocknRolla – Guy Ritchie. You would think that the person that’s directed numerous gangster films wouldn’t be the best director to direct a classic detective in Victorian London with very few guns to use. And yet, Ritchie managed to direct a very, very good film. There was some furore regarding Sherlock himself – Robert Downey Jr. wouldn’t exactly be the Sherlock we’ve come to expect over the years. The very smart, elegant detective that goes about his duties with not much fuss. And yet, Downey Jr. plays an oh so different Sherlock, that I absolutely adored (my man crush on Downey Jr. did further this adoration, mind you).
Once the film started, you could easily tell that Ritchie had spent much time thinking about the setting of the film – Ye Olde London. The very dark and idyllic London is simply stunning, with half-built Tower Bridge being the piece-de-resistance. Each dark alleyway that Sherlock and Watson trudge along from time to time have a genuine eeriness about it that shows that, though London is one of the most well known cities in the world, back in the day London had many skeletons in its closet, with courtesans and shafty salesmen being a regular sight throughout.
The story itself is a very interesting one (that Sherlock, naturally, is able to suss out, for the most part), and I was captivated by the way Sherlock went about at explaining how he figured all of the important elements out, sometimes with a sort of flashback, and others you really had to listen to what Sherlock was saying as only a few pictures were shown. This isn’t a film you can just watch as a bit of fun on a Sunday evening, if, like me, you want to figure out the story before it gets explained, then your attention is a must. Sadly, I didn’t figure out what happened before Sherlock had to explain, but I was oh so close.
Finally, you have to mention the camaraderie between Downey Jr.’s Sherlock and Jude Law’s Watson is among the great partnership in current cinema. The connection between them is second to none, regularly making quips to one another.
The film has it’s flaws, obviously, but there are so many pros that out weigh the cons that you nearly miss them. Oh, and the fight scene at the beginning is amazing.
To summarise, the classic detective portrayed in not-so-conventional fashion, but this really was a conventionally brilliant film.