Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

The Classic British Detective Comes to Life in an Unexpected Way, Writes MAGGIE COOPER; in Defence of the New Sherlock Holmes

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

The Classic British Detective Comes to Life in an Unexpected Way, Writes MAGGIE COOPER; in Defence of the New Sherlock Holmes

Article excerpt

DISCLAIMER: This reviewer is a huge (and I do mean huge) fan of Robert Downey Jr.

The latest film incarnation of Sherlock Holmes has come under a bit of flak since its release in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day, so I bought a ticket with only low expectations of it being a great film.

Anyone who rocks up to a Guy Ritchie film expecting an intellectual journey is a bit naive. The ex-Mr Madonna has somewhat revolutionised film making with his previous hits Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Rock'n'Rolla. There was a time after Lock was released to almost universal acclaim when I would have happily given Mr Ritchie a clip around the ears as I staggered from lesser directors' attempts to emulate the quirky camera angles and snappy editing of the new director kid on the block.

Robert Downey Jr, fresh from his successes in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder (which brought him an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a Russell Crowe-type method actor) introduces a dark side to the classic British detective invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His face is finally displaying a few of the after effects of his past excesses, so this Holmes (who in the Conan Doyle books had more than a passing flirtation with cocaine) actually looks the part. No, there are no tweed suits with leather elbow patches, and his headwear is a little more eccentric than the stereotypical deerstalker; instead he has a tendency to lounge around in a dressing gown that looks as though it may have been gnawed by rats.

The much-discussed camaraderie between Downey's character and Jude Law's Dr Watson, which has been likened to that between Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (and if you are too young to have caught that in the cinema in 1969, get thee to a video store and hire it for a few pointers on how to make a truly great film) didn't grab me; Ritchie would have been better off not mentioning his aims in that department, as the repartee and 'buddy' factor fall way short of that particular mark. …

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