Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Release date: December 16, 2011
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Screenplay by: Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel McAdams, Paul Anderson, Kelly Reilly
Whatever you think about Guy Ritchie’s abilities as a director, he sure knows his audience, and delivers a film full of homoerotic subtext for the ladies and slow-mo action for the boys.
However, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is not a movie without its faults, mainly because for a film about the greatest detective ever, it spends more time on the chase rather than the deduction, which is something of a pity considering this is supposed to be Sherlock Holmes’ (Downey Jr.) battle of minds with arch-nemesis Professor James Moriarty (Harris).
The story starts at tense times — bombings in major parts of Europe have soured countries’ relationships. Of course, the only one not fooled is Holmes. While his partner Dr. John Watson (Law) was making preparations for his upcoming nuptials, the detective was busy connecting the dots and becoming even more antisocial. After a failed stag party for Watson, Holmes meets Simza (Rapace), a kick-ass gypsy who is there to advance the plot. In the end, Holmes would ask for Watson’s help (also to keep him safe) to ruin Moriarty’s plan to start the biggest war the world has seen more than twenty years too early.
The plot itself is interesting, if the execution a bit lacking — hurried in parts and slow in others (and not because of the slow-motion). But what moves this forward is the cast. Downey Jr. and Law are in top form, bickering at times and being totally synchronized at others. Besides the obvious touching plot-related moments, there was this look that showed in their faces time and again when they talked about their imminent separation after this last case. Something that makes the final moments of the movie so poignant.
Then there’s Harris’ Moriarty, who wasn’t that menacing, except in certain torture part. However, his interactions with Holmes were very interesting to watch because of their similar thought processes. His moments with his right-hand man, Sebastian Moran (Anderson), were good too and served as a foil to Holmes and Watson’s own relationship… eh, partnership.
The ladies in this movie weren’t left with much to do, with the main guys’ respective love interests taken out of the way in the first hour. But the lady we are left with does a more than adequate job with keeping up with the boys. Rapace delivers a capable woman who has personal reasons to be there and she’s kept out of the love interest box.
Sadly, unlike Watson’s wife, Mary Morstan (Reilly), Irene Addler (McAdams), didn’t even have any moment to shine.
The other character that adds something to the plot, even if it’s to protect and keep Mary out of the way, is Mycroft Holmes (Fry), who is said to be smarter than Holmes and even more eccentric. And while “Frycroft” is hilariously dry at best, there is a moment that shows more of Fry than you ever wanted to see.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is, in any case, something every guy and gal can enjoy for different reasons. It is also beautifully done, music is still fantastic — thank you, Philippe Rousselot and Hans Zimmer, respectively — and you can tell everybody was having lots of fun doing it.