Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sherlock Holmes Jr.

Since I posted my last one on movies a while back (seems like a lifetime back), I thought I should put up another post on a movie. At least, it will give an illusion of continuity. Just like the earlier one, I do not pretend that its a critical analysis of the movie. Its more of an outpouring of my feelings after watching it - more emotional than rational, which is ironic since the protagonist is one of the most rational men ever lived (in fiction, of course).

Sherlock Holmes

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law
Director: Guy Ritchie

File:Sherlock holmes ver5.jpg
My mind rebels at stagnation.

The familiar feeling of fascination swept over me as I watched the adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, played more than ably by the dry wit of Robert Downey Jr.

In all his roles, Downey Jr takes a rather deep interest of the character. Some say a little too deep. In fact, his role as the award winning, always-in-character actor in the laugh riot Tropic Thunder was suggested to the director, Ben Stiller by Downey Jr’s own personality. Even Jeff Bridges, while talking on an interview about Iron Man mentions how Downey Jr and the director used to make up the dialogues on the sets at their whim and fancy.

But, in Sherlock Holmes, he surpasses himself. Maybe, greater credit must go to the casting director as Downey Jr was a perfect choice. His obsession with his profession is remarkably similar to Holmes’ approach to his.

Of course there are other things too that struck me while watching the movie and made me see it not just as an adaptation of the greatest detective ever penned.

The most popular Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle was, inarguably, The Hound of Baskervilles. Doyle could never quite re-create the magic before or after that singularly fascinating novel. While the other stories attracted the minds rather rationally revering the robotic reasoning of Holmes, they lacked the aura of the supernatural that the Hound put on the menu for the otherwise palatable.

This is where, Sherlock Holmes-The movie, played a master stroke. There was enough of the devious dark arts and end of days thrown about woven with the precise logical mind of Holmes, the beauty and mind of Irene Adler, the devotion of Watson that has made the age-old detective series into today's blockbuster.

There were subtexts too for the ardent movie watcher (for the more trained eye, as Holmes would say) The talk of using fear as means of ruling over people and wielding the ultimate power can be used ad pedem litterae in a Michael Moore documentary. Add to that the chemical weapons being used, the association to the modern world is complete.

There are other aspects which really make it a fascinating watch. The obvious and unbridled envy of Holmes towards Mary Morston and his bag of tricks to avoid losing Watson; Holmes fascination for the only woman who bettered him; the some might call excessive violence (but with a typical Holmes tinge to it)

Going off the script, maybe. But, there was nothing in the movie that degraded the original Sherlock Holmes. It was created as a commercial film so that Holmes gets a wider audience in today’s world. I think it succeeded by quite a margin. After all, where Guy Ritchie is involved, one can expect a bit of violence, I suppose.