Super Sleuth and Scrapper

Sherlock Holmes. The new super sleuth and scrapper? Trading in his deerstalker and Inverness cape for a hepcat hat and a working-class shirt and vest.

Yes. Well at least that’s how Guy Ritchie has portrayed the master sleuth in his new flick.

It’s fantastic. A film that brings back the whole idea of what going to a movie should be about: excitement. And how often do we get that in our hyper-virtual world?

Lavishly filmed, too. Holmes’s Victorian London is a gritty, steampunk city chockfull of Hieronymus Bosch wonders. I just wanted to slow the film down to explore the dark alleys, the warehouses, the docks, the Thames, 221 B Baker Street.

Robert Downey, Jr., is perfect as the cerebral, lugubrious, eccentric genius with a liking for cocaine. And although Holmes is less than physical in the books, he is definitely no Socratic couch potato. He knows boxing and Baritsu — a form of martial art — and is also proficient at single-stick and fencing. So it’s not so far-fetched for Ritchie to imagine Holmes as a street-fighting mind maverick.

And the rapport between Jude Law as Dr. Watson and Downey is right on. Fiery spats between the idiosyncratic mind of Holmes and the more practical one of Watson.

Although I must admit that my favourite Holmes would be Jeremy Brett, the Elric of Melniboné of Sherlock Holmes. Physically, Brett was the ideal master sleuth: thin and hawkish and tall and coldly analytical. His Sherlock Holmes was so damn good. In fact, I think he really sucked the DNA of the character right out of the books.


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