Saturday, December 31, 2011

And Don't Call Me Sherlie...

Noomi RapaceThree good reasons to go and see Sherlock Holmes 2 A Game of Shadows:

1) It's better than the first one even though that one was, in my opinion, brilliant.
2) It's fun, it's full and it's fast moving.
3) Noomi Rapace.

And not necessarily in that order.

Now I'm well aware that Guy Ritchie's take on the Sherlock Holmes legend has resulted in apoplexy in some and epiphany in others. There are just as many people trying to raise Sir Arthur C. Doyle from the dead to exact a terrible spectral revenge on Mr Ritchie as there are rubbing themselves off with fake deerstalkers in bristling Watson-esque ecstacy. I don't own a deerstalker myself but I will own my own opinion and say that A Game of Shadows is absolutly superb.

The plot of the first film - for all it was excellently executed and a wonderful cinema specatcle - was, all things considered, absurd. Magic, voodoo and hoo-ha. For many they had to suspend their belief a little bit too far. Not so with A Game Of Shadows. The intrigue here is good old politics, war and greed. Europe is on the verge of the first World War. The countdown to the world's darkest hour (no, not The X Factor) has begun. The machine of war is oiling itself up and getting ready to roar. And there are those afoot who are already positioning themselves to own both the bullets and the bandages. Those with vision, for all it is dark, realize the outcome is going to be war and profiteering on an industrial scale...

Cue neat segue to Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty. He is an excellent addition to the cast. He seethes with intellectual malice and a gingery beard of the purest evil. Holmes has indeed met his match. Downey Jr and Law reprise their roles as Holmes and Watson with a glee that postively spills over onto the screen. There is real chemistry there and weirdly it feels right that Watson ends up spending his honeymoon with Holmes rather than his wife, getting shot at by a load of belligerent Germans. Bravest role of the film goes to Stephen Fry as Holmes's brother, Mycroft, and who bears his nipples, his paunch and his polished vowels with unabashed abandon in a scene of astonishing nudity. After that seeing Downey Jr's Holmes in a bonnet and lipstick is nothing to be concerned about at all.

The biggest pull of the film for me though was Noomi Rapace. Her previous incarnation as Lisbeth Salander has made her famous in Europe among Stieg Larsson's many devout followers (though probably less so state-side). And I have to say it was odd going to see her in Sherlock Holmes and passing a poster in the cinema foyer for the remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and finding her not on it. How would she cope with a role as comparatively lightweight as a gypsy girl in Sherlock Holmes? I thought she was mesmerizing. She held the screen so brightly she almost set light to it. I wished Ritchie had made more of her to be honest. The steampunk priestess of piercings had transformed herself into a knife throwing, tarot reading Cadbury's Flake girl (minus the Cadbury's Flake) and, with apologies to Watson's wife, held her own against the big boys and saw off any other challenger. No double entendre intended. Though possibly one wished for.

I'm not going to spoil the ending for you but I thought it was a good move by Ritchie. It plays around with the original Sherlock finale but leaves any sequels open to throw off the shackles of the old and venture completely into pasture new.

Or does it?

I mean, after all, those gingery beards are legendarily hard to get rid off...

Cue echoey Victorian laughter...



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23 comments:

the fly in the web said...

Goodness only knows what it will be like dubbed into Spanish....but that's a great review.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: a cross between Puss In Boots and El Dorado...?

Gorilla Bananas said...

I don't think Sir Arthur would have minded the magic and the the voodoo, being a devotee of spiritualism himself. As for the hoo-ha, that is a word certain American ladies use for their vulvas. Just one of those would have presented a greater challenge to Holmes and Watson than any number of ginger beards.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: pass me my fiddle. I feel the urge to furiously rub some cat gut.

London City Mum said...

Ooooh, I agree. I loved the film and had not even seen the first one.
It was beautifully British with its tongue-in-cheek humour.
And spooky seeing Noomi Rapace without the piercings and tattoos. She was mesmerising in the original (and also superb) Swedish film of the Millennium trilogy.

Mind you, the only reason I would see the Hollywood remake is because of one certain DC *cough* because I'm not fickle or anything, right...?

LCM x

John Gray said...

I LOVED IT TOO.... a romp and a half!
tosh........ but entertaining tosh!!!
and jude law is a slightly better looking watson than Nigel Bruce !!
happy new year matey

Steve said...

LCM: does David Cameron make a cameo appearance? I thought he'd be better placed to play Advokat Nils Bjurman...?

John: and to you too gov'nor!

Alienne said...

I agree, it was a highly enjoyable film - i don't really care if it authentic or true to the book, most films aren't anyway. It's just good fun.

Steve said...

Alienne: I think they cut the original books up and made papermache out of them. But what the hell: that's entertainment.

Marginalia said...

Stephen Fry, naked with nipples exposed. It doesn't get much better than that.

Steve said...

Marginalia: he was in the nudd from his clavicles all the way down to his brisket. I suspect he was completely nekkid but thankfully the camera did not delve into his underworld.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Your review makes this film sound fantastic. I hardly ever go to the movies (or watch TV) but I might get to see it on my next long haul flight. I've managed to tidy away a handful of classics inflight over the last month! Happy New Year to you and yours :-)

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: and to you and yours too! And a very safe journey home too.

Nota Bene said...

This is one of the many films I meant to see this holiday. Damn, I just know I won't get there now. Any way I'll look out for her...

Steve said...

Nota Bene: it's worth bunking the afternoon off work. Trust me.

Being Me said...

Well. You have doubtless made my husband a happy man. Finally, a movie he's interested in that I *might* agree to seeing with him, thanks to your glowing review! Though he pretty much had me at "It's got Robert DJ in it." Cue: me, in a puddle.
And your readers seem unanimous as well. Must be a cracker of a movie.

Steve said...

Being Me: go see it. Go, go, go. Steve will love it and you can feast your eyes. Robert DJ looks rather fetching in a lady's bonnet...

Toni said...

GREAT review!
Fabio and I saw the shorts for this when we went to TinTin the other day -- it looks really good and to be honest we're really intrigued to see Noomi Rapace. She was a brilliant Lisbeth Salander!

Steve said...

Toni: she makes a brilliant gypsy too!

Rol said...

Oh, boy, you've done it again...

Steve said...

Rol: whoops?

Megafon Bania said...

I like your writting. Good blog.

Steve said...

Megafon: I like your good taste. Thank you.