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Monday, 2 January 2012

Film - Sherlock Holmes – a Game of Shadows directed by Guy Ritchie

Star rating 4/10

After the critical mauling it got I have to admit I never bothered to see the first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes meets Hollywood extravaganza, but as it was New Year's Day, and the festive feeling of goodwill was just about still in evidence, I decided to give the follow up a try. Bad move.

This is a testosterone fuelled macho action movie that happens to be very loosely based on a Conan Doyle crime classic. Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr are fine as the leads, accomplished actors as they both are. But the plot is boring, which is something I would never level at Conan Doyle, and the context is muddled. It is set in Victorian times, but Ritchie insists on Holmes saying distinctly modern phrases such as ‘no pressure’, which seem oddly out of place.

Noomi Rapace is criminally underused as a gypsy side kick along for the ride. After the dramatic highs of her splendid performance as Lisbeth Salander in the original Swedish versions of the Millennium trilogy films, this feels like one hell of an artistic come down for her. The film drags along with all the finesse of a bulldozer, and the finer nuances of the original stories have all but vanished. Some of the other acting is so wooden you suspect it is a wardrobe.

I just can’t recommend this at all – but I suspect that Ritchie will be back for more, and like Conan Doyle himself, will not leave his detective to die in the Reichenbach Falls with his arch enemy Moriarty. If you want to see a Sherlock Holmes tale – I would stick to the simply brilliant BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, rather than this poor man's macho fantasy.


  1. Excellent review of the movie!

    As an avid Sherlockian, I totally agree with you :)

    Have you seen the Russian adaptation with Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes.


    1. Thanks - I will certainly check it out.