Thursday, January 05, 2012

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I've been a fan of Robert Downey Jr. for as long as I can remember and he remains one of the best actors I admire. He has just proven once again how good he is with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

RDJ plays the brilliant detective very well. His inherent wit and charm come across the screen effortlessly. Jude Law, who plays Dr. Watson, also did great as Holmes' loyal friend and sidekick. The two, who are said to be good friends off-screen, have a good dynamic that make their scenes really fun to watch.

In this film sequel, the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are set up against a brilliant professor and mastermind who uses his extraordinary intelligence to commit crime. Holmes has finally met his intellectual match in Professor James Moriarty (played by Jared Harris) whose capacity for evil, plus the absence of a conscience, may just upstage the principled detective.

The story involves a scandal that takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; the apparent overdose of a Chinese opium trader; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; and the death of an American steel magnate. No one, except Sherlock Holmes, sees the connections between these seemingly random events. The great detective suspects the deliberate web of death and destruction being spun by a singularly sinister spider -- Moriarty.

In a press release, RDJ describes his character as being consumed with beating the professor at his own game to the point of "nutting up" and possibly endangering his own sanity. The twists in the movie did leave me puzzled as more and more clues are revealed before culminating in a conclusion that was quite unexpected.

Joining the cast are Noomi Rapace who plays Sim, a feisty gypsy who got embroiled in the happenings no thanks to her mysterious brother Rene; Stephen Fry who plays Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's very eccentric sibling; Rachel McAdams who returns as Irene Adler; Kelly Reilly as Watson’s bride, Mary Morstan (she looks a lot like an older Taylor Swift!); Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade; and Geraldine James as Holmes’s long-suffering landlady, Mrs. Hudson.

What jolted me later as the film credits started rolling was vaguely remembering having read a particular story about Sherlock Holmes meeting an accident in Switzerland. When I got home last night, I looked for three books that we've had since the early '90s and am now compelled to re-read each one to familiarize myself once again with the magic of joining Holmes and Watson in their seemingly never-ending escapades.

Do watch A Game of Shadows. It has action, comedy, mystery, and a whole lot more. Admire the period costumes, be amused at Holmes' disguises, be awed at the bombing and chase scenes, laugh at the witty dialogues, marvel at ingenious contraptions and thingamajigs, and root for the good detective and his allies while thoroughly enjoying the story that's excellently directed by Guy Ritchie

Opening across the Philippines this January 8, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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