Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

This movie follows the time-tested formula of any action-thriller movie and begins with a Bond-esque tense opening scene. And in that first few minutes Watson asks a question that begins with "how did you know.." and Holmes gives his classic "Because I was looking for it" answer. This is not the only item in the not-so-esoteric checklist that Guy Ritchie uses to woo those looking for Holmes trivia in this movie. Irena Adler (who Holmes always referred to as "the woman"), Cocaine, Homes Passion for chemicals and toxins, Holmes physical fighting techniques along with not-so-subtle references to Mycroft Holmes and Moriarty.

Thamizh cinema viewers must be intimately familiar with Ritchie's movie technics as almost all thamizh movies have liberally begun to copy/employ it since the day Kaakha Kaakha borrowed it from Lock Stock & 2 Smokin Barells. It is the cramming of multiple frames within a few seconds to accelerate the screenplay. It helps Ritchie give us flashback, context, thrills, surprise and every thing else he can think of. In this movie he attempts to give Holmes a reckless cavalier flavor that Pierce Brosnan/ Bruce Willis effectively did in Remington Steele/Moonlighting. Watson gets to do counterfoil a'la a Stephanie Zimbalist/Cybill Sheperd - by playing a by-the-book, disciplined character who is always around to save their counterpart's ass.

I wouldn't blame Ritchie for rebooting Holmes in this fashion. Jeremy Brett, my favorite Holmes, played Holmes with a kind of unmatched style, verve and passion that it is hard for any movie to beat that game. Brett was the closest an actor could come to playing Doyle's holmes. And Brett was still far away from the real thing. Holmes is not movie material. As most of the thrill that people get from reading Holmes is his deductive thought process. Hardly something that can be replicated on screen without making the movie look like a documentary. If Ritchie has to side step a key value prop, he needs to fill the gap with a lot of action masala gimmicks. And he does that with moderate success.

This movie wasn't bad but I'm hoping for a better sequel.

1 comment:

MaySan said...

Holmes cannot be enacted, I totally agree. Imagination is the best :)