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Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows– Movie Review

Submitted by on December 16, 2011 – 5:43 pm4 Comments

Many action movies get by solely on the promise of explosions and fights. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has the decency to throw in beautiful settings and the onscreen chemistry of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as well, somewhat making up for a predictable, one-note plot and flimsy characters. It all makes Guy Ritchie‘s latest re-imagining of the legendary detective a fun and energetic flick that certainly doesn’t feel like it’s two hour-plus run time.

On the eve of Dr. Watson’s (Law) marriage to Mary, Watson and a manic Holmes set of to stop the brilliantly mad Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) from starting a war in Europe. Along they way, the pick up a gypsy woman (Noomi Rapace, who plays Lisbeth in the original Swedish versions of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies), whose brother works for Moriarity. And that’s about all you need to know.

So it’s basically a Victorian period piece, blow-em-up, buddy comedy. And Law and Downey take up so much of the compelling plot and characterization, it doesn’t leave much for anyone else. Rapace and well-known English actor/comedian Stephen Fry (as Holmes’ brother) turn in decent performances in unnecessary roles; Harris’ Moriarity is both greedy and mean beyond a reasonable cause, and he does the best with his blandly threatening dialogue.

One of the film’s secret weapons is the score by Hollywood veteran Hans Zimmer. He draws on twangy folk music to perfectly capture the frenetic energy of Ritchie’s fight scenes; and he layers pounding metallic beats on top of classical music and opera to reflect the hybrid of the director’s visual aesthetic.

One last thing was bugging me: In a few scenes, Holmes is disguised as a woman in makeup (you’ve probably seen clips of it on TV commercials or in the theatrical trailer). After a big fight, Holmes’ disguise is in disarray. His face is pale with dust, his lipstick is smeared across his face, and his blue eye shadow is smudged. In short, I swear he looked like The Joker from The Dark Knight (you can sort of see it here). Was it just my imagination, or was it an intentional reference? And if so, why?

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

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