sherlock-holmes-game-of-shadowsGone Awry
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
Stars: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Repace, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, Stephen Fry and Paul Anderson
Director: Guy Ritchie
Scriptwriters: Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Village Roadshow
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 128 minutes
If Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were still in show business, they would have had a go at this latest installment in the Sherlock Holmes genre.  A Game of Shadows is like something from the old Wild, Wild West television series. As it is, we have Robert Downey, Jr. doing stand-up comedy (improvised) with Jude Law valiantly trying to follow him. Jared Harris as the evil Dr. Moriarity looks frozen in time and Noomi Repace (the sensation from Dragon Tattoo) is miscast as a gypsy girl trying to find her brother. End of her story. Mid-way through the film I was looking at my watch, ignoring the chases and explosions on the screen.  As soon as I saw the castle built over a waterfall in the mountains, the script was telegraphing something and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was past rolling over in his grave, he was churning, poor fellow. Downey is much better as “Ironman.”
The plot has Holmes inventing a suit that makes one almost invisible. Remember this one. He seems to be everywhere at once and knows everything, too. Now, there are two ways to show his powers of deduction.  One is with facial expression. Benedict Cumberbatch (and there’s an actor’s name for you) in the PBS version of a younger Holmes in the 21st century, and the other is to let the camera fly around the screen while you try to figure out the pieces of the puzzle. PBS wins on this one.
People are murdered, there is a villain afoot, Holmes and Watson travel through Europe and all the time poor Watson is planning his marriage to a spunky Mary (well played by Kelly Reilly.) We delve for a few minutes on Holmes wanting/not wanting Watson to marry, and then it is Holmes' brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry stealing his scenes) who interrupts plans, plus Moriarity’s assassin-for-hire, Moran, behind every bush and pillar. Holmes is in disguise, himself, a great part of the time and Gladstone, the bulldog pet of Watson, should have his own assassin-for-hire.
Director Guy Ritchie must have had fun doing this film. Stunts and special effects are good. The script goes everywhere but in the right direction and the soundtrack by one of my favorites, Hans Zimmer, is clangy and as distracting as Holmes unkempt appearance. Tending toward dumpster-diving for clothing.
Was I disappointed?  Yes, though I will give the film Two Tocks for Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography and Kelly Reilly’s characterization of Mary Watson. Game of Shadows is an apt title, as the audience lingers there most of the time.
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner