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Sherlock Holmes

Nothing escapes him. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Guy Ritchie 
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong  
An image from Sherlock Holmes

As he is led to the gallows, the mysterious Lord Blackwood (Strong) swears revenge on the man who put him behind bars. That man, whose fiercely brilliant intellect and lethal martial skills have conspired to solve mysteries other men thought impossible, is Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.). With his trusted colleague Watson (Law), Holmes battles the allure and cunning of his old adversary Irene Adler (McAdams) as well as the occult forces of Blackwood, to unravel a twisting and violent plot against the country.

There have been a few big screen adaptations for Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective before, but don’t expect many parlours and bustles here. This is a Guy Ritchie film: expect girls, repartee and violence. Lots of violence. Sherlock Holmes reworks the more well known aspects of the stories to put more emphasis on the murky underworld of Victorian London and Holmes’ often-mentioned-but-rarely-seen talent for baritsu, a fictional martial art that essentially involves hitting everyone with a big stick. Even Watson gets a makeover, returning to the character’s roots as a soldier, gambler and womaniser.

Diehard fans will probably tut and shake their heads, but Sherlock Holmes is so far removed from the previous versions that it can barely be related. Instead, you get a hyper-active, rollicking adventure movie, at times hilarious, that gets lifted to the next level by the presence of the inestimable Downey Jr. to a fantastically enjoyable frolic. It’s entirely facetious, but marks a welcome return to form for Ritchie. Don’t expect an intellectual period drama, and you won’t be disappointed.

Marcus Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)