Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" a Familiar, But Fun Game

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 105 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
Running time: 129 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material
DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
WRITERS: Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney (based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle)
PRODUCERS: Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver, and Lionel Wigram
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot
EDITOR: James Herbert
COMPOSER: Hans Zimmer


Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Paul Anderson, Kelly Reilly, Rachel McAdams, Geraldine James, and Eddie Marsan

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a 2011 Sherlock Holmes film and action/mystery movie. It is a direct sequel to the 2009 film, Sherlock Holmes, which brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective back to the big screen as an in-your-face, two-fisted genius. A Game of Shadows finds Holmes taking on his greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

A year after the events of the first film, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.), the renowned "consulting detective,” is investigating a seemingly unrelated series of crimes around Europe, including a bombing in London and the murder of prominent physician. Holmes believes the crimes are tied to the criminal mastermind, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), who is just as smart as Holmes and more ruthless. Meanwhile, Holmes’ trusted ally and physician, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), is set to marry Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly).

It is Watson’s stag (bachelor) party that brings Holmes into contact with Sim (Noomi Rapace), a gypsy fortune teller marked for death by Moriarty. Holmes and Watson follow Sim to Paris where they discover the far-reaching implications of Moriarty’s plot. With his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry), providing some assistance (from a distance), Holmes tries to stop a possible war. But in Moriarty, Holmes may have met an opponent that even he cannot overcome.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadow offers the same thrills, chills, laughs, and mind games of the first film, except this new movie is more intense than wry. It is darker, has more action, and plays more on the razor’s edge than the first film, which was clever and loose, whereas this film is cunning and taut. You get the idea that the well-being of the world is on the line if Holmes’ slips up, and Moriarty is so damn formidable, Holmes is often outmaneuvered in this story. The best thing director Guy Ritchie gets out of the script is that the action in this story really matters.

Good performances abound. Watching Robert Downey, Jr. play Holmes, I got the feeling that if his brain were not firing on all cylinders, it was close. Downey’s performance was like mixing a high wire act with juggling and being on the receiving end of a knife-throwing act. Jared Harris is superb as Moriarty; I’ve never been more in awe and more afraid of this villain, and I wish Harris’ take on Moriarty had more screen time. Noomi Rapace makes the most of her role as Sim, a character whose screen time exceeds her importance.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows sticks with the winning formula of the first film with some refinement. It delivers glossy, high-caliber entertainment with a clever edge that puts it above the typical Hollywood fast food, movie product. I’m already ready for a third Robert Downey, Jr.-Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movie.

7 of 10

Saturday, December 17, 2011

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