Robert Downey Jr. hams and brawls as the famed English sleuth while Jude Law simmers and modulates as Holmes’ partner in criminology, Dr. Watson. Both get a hyperactive workout on the trail of a mysterious black-magic cabal trying to overthrow the British government. It’s Guy Ritchie’s idea of a prestige project: set the story in soggy, grimy, cluttered Victorian London, dress the boys in period finery, then give the literary detective classic the same sort of Punch and Judy violence director Ritchie employed in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; RocknRolla, and his other lad-friendly testosterone derbies. Did I mention that somehow it manages to be entertaining? Wild-hair support by Mark Strong as the bad guy, Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade, and Rachel McAdams, a welcome sight as Holmes’ fetching assistant and fellow combatant, Irene Adler. The new story and screenplay, by a team of four writers, is no dumber than most of the situations Arthur Conan Doyle originally cooked up for Holmes, and Downey looks like he’s having fun – a good sign (128 min.).
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Lionel Wigram and Arthur Conan Doyle
Producer: Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly and William Hope