Movie Reviews

Sneak Peek: Sherlock Holmes

Movies - 21 December 2009 10:00 AM | Updated 09 December 2014

Sneak Peek: Sherlock Holmes

Legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart sidekick Dr Watson appear to have closed yet another high-profile case with the arrest of occult serial killer Lord Blackwood.

But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave to resume his killing spree, Holmes has to get back on the trail again before the bad lord unleashes a plot that could change the world forever.

Holmes finds his experience and wits tested as he plunges into a world of mysticism and black magic to snare this new powerful nemesis before it is too late. He also struggles with his emotions for femme fatale Irene Adler, as well as his increasingly strained friendship with long-time partner and confidante, Watson.

First Take

For a fan of the original classic by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inevitably the viewing of the movie brought on much anticipation and expectation.

The trailer looked promising, but the film had been met with much criticism from naysayers. They believed that one of the original Holmes stories should have been used for the screenplay, instead of a new story catering too much to contemporary tastes. Everything from the choice of director to the cast had been criticised at some point.

However, it is with much satisfaction that can say that the movie did not disappoint, remaining highly entertaining despite being given a stylised update by director Guy Ritchie, best known for his heist movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch

The Good

The best, if quite unexpected, part of the movie has got to be the sparkling camaraderie between Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes and Jude Law’s Watson. The affection and respect for each other clearly shown by these two thespians serve to provide a strong vein of continuity within the sometimes uneven plot. A sub-plot involving Watson retiring to get married merely distracts, with the audience quietly rooting for Watson to doggedly follow every time Holmes initiates action. Watching these two acting powerhouses banter is alone worth the ticket price.

The Bad

Perhaps the critics had been right, in that using one of the original Holmes stories would have been a better idea instead of conjuring up this slightly muddled version for contemporary audiences. The film tends to drag at times, introducing characters whom one couldn’t care less for -- one secretly wished that Holmes would dispatch them quickly and efficiently so that the movie could move along a little faster.

The star-crossed romance involving Holmes and Rachel McAdams’ Adler also lacks bite, with little palpable chemistry between the actors. says

Our generation’s view of Sherlock Holmes seems to be intertwined with that of the quintessential dweeb with a moustache, with his nose forever glued to the ground while he peers through his magnifying glass.

Therefore it is with a big heave of relief that director Ritchie has given us two romanticised, swashbuckling protagonists who can hold their own in a brawl, yet remain the investigative geeks we know and love.

The critics may nitpick, but Holmes the movie nevertheless remains true to many elements of the original novels, while breathing new life into a dusty old classic.

Greatly entertaining and enjoyable fare for the holidays, and highly recommended.

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Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes

  • Rated
    PG /
    Crime, Mystery
  • Language
  • (14 Reviews)