Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

If you liked the first film, the much anticipated second instalment from Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law will enthral you. It's more of the same - an insane genius for good in Holmes and for evil in Moriarty, the faithful Dr Watson and his charming new bride, big settings, fast action and implausible plot lines - then it  it wouldn't be Sherlock Holmes without them. We also see Noomi Rapace in action - her first big screen outing since Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium Trilogy - as a gypsy girl Madam Simza Heron and we see perhaps a bit too much of Stephen Fry as Holme's brother! Overall this film delivers what you would expect: non-stop action, interesting CGI effects (it's good to see 'bullet time' visuals continuing to evolve and develop), a Victorian London you can almost smell and elemental logic leading to deductions that only seem remotely possible in hind-sight.

The story begins in London and moves to Paris and then Heilbronn before ending in Switzerland at the famed Reichenbach Falls - which although spectacular don't resemble the real version very much at all! As Moriarty attempts to get rich through procuring armament producers whilst simultaneously goading the European powers into war, Holmes is always one step ahead. The central thread gives us Holmes attempting to reunite Madam Simza Heron with her brother Rene whilst simultaneously protecting the newly-weds from the vengeful and completely unscrupulous Moriarty.

The morality of the story is fairly blunt and leaves little room for manoeuvre. Holmes is right and Moriarty is wrong. However, within how the story is told, there is plenty of latitude to explore the moral tolerances that Holmes allows himself to exploit in pursuit of the greater good - a kind of Utilitarian approach to ethics. There are lots of shootings, knifings and explosions and the body count mounts as the film unwinds. It amazes me that the the central characters are able to leave a trail of bodies, destruction and mayhem in their wake without so much as attracting even a casual enquiry from the law enforcement agencies!

Despite the improbable outcome the story leaves the door open for Sherlock Holmes 3 - or does it? you'll have to go and watch it to find out for yourself. Good holiday-time viewing with fine acting, great sets and conceptualisation. If you are looking for something to do one afternoon or evening go and see this film - there were all of six of us watching in Screen 2 at my nearest multiplex last night! I'll give it 7.5/10.

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