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Thursday, July 25, 2013

21st Century Holmes/Watson In 19th Century London


SHERLOCK HOLMES : A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011) --- Robert Downey Jr. goes through a feature's length with three days' growth of beard except for a segment where he's femme-disguised, thus clean-shaven, though for scenes taking place a mere hours' later, he's got the stubble back. Such is magic of contempo pix, where lead men are seemingly under order to shun razors. That's my only knock, however, upon a lively lark and further desecration of Doyle by modern re-thinkers evidently onto a good thing, based on biz done so far by redressed Holmes (a third one is on tap). I'll be frank (and maybe surprising) to say that Downey is my favorite of Sherlocks so far, excluding of course, Rathbone The Greatest. With an actor so effective as RDJr., you don't need so much frenzy action, however. I wanted to be past set-pieces and back to dialogue of cat-mouse quality between Downey's Holmes and a splendid Moriarty they cast in Jared Harris, late of Mad Men, and I hope, set to reprise villainy on future SH occasion. Jude Law is terrific too as Watson, his and Downey's by-play  an ongoing highlight. Yes, there is such thing as fun modern movies. Holmes/Watson as embodied by this pair can go on forever so far as my sitting time's concerned.

2 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer describes a night out to see the first (modern) Sherlock Holmes:


I haven't seen "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," but the first of Robert Downey, Jr.'s Holmes impersonations was the subject of an outing with my dear mother. We'd been in the custom of taking her to a movie on New Year's Eve, and in the past had seen "The Aviator," "Pride and Prejudice," and "The Painted Veil." She always enjoyed being with my wife and me, though our choices left her somewhat perplexed. After "The Painted Veil," from the W. Somerset Maughm novel of love and adultery set during a cholera epidemic, she said, "You know, there weren't a lot of laughs in that one." She is also very hard of hearing. English accents almost completely elude her. The feathery-voiced Keira Knightley might as well have been performing in mime in "Pride and Prejudice," so far as she was concerned. However, Mr. Downey is an American, so I didn't think we'd have that difficulty when we took her to see "Sherlock Holmes." It should be taken as a reflection of his mastery of an English accent that she could make out no more than the odd word or so of his dialog. She liked it, all the same. Alas, her health is quite frail now and it's unlikely that we'll be going out again. Perhaps we'll want to see what TCM has playing this coming New Year's Eve, and perhaps she'll say, whatever it is, "Oh, I'm sure I've already seen that one." As indeed she probably had, at some movie palace in Chicago as part of a bill of shorts and cartoons, a stage show and a second feature, when she was young and her waking dreams were in Technicolor.

Daniel

9:26 AM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

After living in Blighty for over half my life, I still enjoy a game of "Van Dyke Syndrome"...from the somewhat dodgy policemen in 30s/40s film thru TV in the 50s/60s...how many non Brits could convey a good accent to UK wars? Was impressed by Downey...but hands down winners still have to be the Spinal Tap boys....

5:29 AM  

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