Monday, January 11, 2010
"It was very superficial, my dear Watson, I assure you"
Remember this line from 'The Cardboard Box'? This seems to be the most pertinent and to the point review of the new movie Sherlock Holmes. The quick witted and masterful Holmes breaks all the shackles of his past and is reincarnated as the new Holmes, the Dark Knight of the future. He is eccentric, enigmatic and visually too cinematic to be the pipe smoking, aquiline nosed detective we all read about. The inhabitant of 221B Baker Street turns all clichéd notions upside down with his fist fights and his potent love interest in his enemy turned ally, Irene Adler. Holmes is the Iron Man who like all superheroes fights and kills his adversaries. The intriguing plot meanders heroically as its protagonists; the brave-heart Holmes and the overpowered Watson try to outwit the dark lord, Lord Blackwood whose malicious and occult crimes threaten to annihilate the peace of London.
Robert Downey Junior is brilliant in his role, he is funny and entertaining. His accent is masterful and his gait dainty. He is however a little more disheveled than expected, lurking around his room catching flies and anaesthetizing Watson's dog. But his mental acumen is strong, his reflective brain, his ability to deduce a person's character from the minuscule details brings to mind the character of the dear old Holmes. However his colleague Dr. Watson seemed at times more potent than him, solving riddles in a jiffy, romanticizing and even overshadowing Holmes at some parts. Jude Law is an actor par excellence and he has used his skill to the best of his ability thereby creating a made over Dr. Watson whom I simply loved. The colleagues share a fantastic bond; they are the ideal made for each other couple. In those grimy and grumpy scenes of slaughterhouse blood, dirty alleys and soiled laboratory, it is obviously the fantastic bond between these two that win over audiences with its charm.
Irene Adler who is first mentioned in 'The Scandal in Bohemia' and who is possibly the love interest of our old Holmes is resurrected here. She is a charming young lady of style, class and brawn. We never know if Mr. Holmes really loved her since "All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind." But in the cinema the emotion of love is more potent and discreet. They kiss and hug yet they always engage in a battle of wits. Holmes has the picture of Adler (the one mentioned in 'The Scandal in Bohemia') and he seems to adore and admire the lady. Rachel McAdams looks good in all the scenes but there is a missing ingredient in her chemistry with Holmes. They don’t look like a great match, even though they try hard to portray the perfection, they just don’t seem to hit it. As for the other characters, Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood is both sinister and perfect. He combined the villainous instincts of a gentleman with great dexterity.
The storyline of the movie is admirable. The plot is fabulous and will leave you agog. One will definitely not find the flair of Conan Doyle, but he will surely enjoy the twists and turns. The cinematography is brilliant. The gloomy London skies cast a gray shadow in the movie. The movie has a dearth of color and the sequences are frenetic, fast and slow paced at the same time. The soundtrack is soothing, a little Irish but good to ears.
Overall, the movie was a brilliant and innovative experiment for director Guy Richie. The peppy Sherlock Holmes does look marvelous on screen yet somehow he lacks the appeal and the wisdom of the stereotyped Holmes and becomes a usual Guy Richie creation, perhaps just another extraordinary antihero.
One of the great mysteries of this retro goes metro world is the surge in enveloping vintage expressions and opening our eyes to the Newfoundland of universal neighborhood. Just mention childhood and we will find ourselves harken those warm sighs of the slightly ripped, yet perfectly original pictures in black and white albums of kith and kin, of long love dried out yet tasty and sumptuous even today. And now mention adulthood, what you see is a total metamorphosis of all past expressions, of hours of free laughter to enveloping expressions, put on faces. Sometimes I feel we are all engaged in a street life masquerade, good outside, yet rotten and dead inside. As the world is on the verge of a population explosion and we check the status of the globe by just one click, don’t you thing in all that we have lost touch with the real us? Everyday as we update the minuscule details of our small life on the internet aren’t we just getting a little polluted in our head in the process. Since the time we have gained global citizenship and have started caring more about our virtual friends in Geneva or Iceland, we seem to have no clue about our next door neighbors. As Twitter have taken over phone calls and Facebook and Orkut are our letter writing pads don’t you just crave at times for a little peek a boo game with the days gone by. A little nostalgia is good for the heart, but in the fast paced life and moral rat race that we see everyday can we really afford the time to be nostalgic, can we really let ourselves shed our put on SMS lingo and write a letter in normal language? Or can we just stop our internet cooldom and be just us on one fine day? Life isn’t actually a fairytale, so I think is it time to shutdown those laptops for a while and taste the real flavor of the versatile city we love so much and drown into the forbidden world of pure joy. Write a letter to a dear friend, talk to your neighbors, take your dog out for a walk and show a gesture of genuine goodwill. Be a Good Samaritan in the real world, and bid adieu to the virtual world for a day, for just one fine day. Be a good fellow citizen in your real world and you would see how your virtual life improves. Take the risk, and say "Hello Kolkata" one day.