Holmes for the holidays

22Dec09

Well, get me and my famous friends! Or, more specifically, my flatmate’s boss’s famous friends, but that is way close enough for me, even – EVEN – though I was nowt but a plus one. So, uncharacteristically to cut a long story short, my flatmate invited me to a special preview screening of Guy Ritchie’s latest, Sherlock Holmes. And if you’re hoping for a hatchet job, you’re not wanted round these parts. I really enjoyed it. Ooh look, here’s a trailer. Ooh look, here’s the Guardian photogallery from the premiere.

Everyone with a whit of sense knows that the definitive nervy, icy, brainiac Holmes (Jeremy Brett) could never be bettered, but Downey doesn’t try. He’s a very different Holmes, and he’s great. Why did anyone doubt it for second? Holmes: a brilliant man who copes with his brilliance by getting off his head, sabotaging his life and alienating his friends. Any ideas? Any hints? Any notion who could possibly play such a tormented and exasperating character?

In fairness, there’s no opium guzzling in this version, but we do see a great bit of prize-fighting, and Downey with his shirt off is no shabby sight. And Jude Law, yet again, comes up trumps. The two are great together – very Butch and Sundance – and fortunately there’s plenty of them irritating each other to fuel things nicely. By the way, Luddites, that’s the litmus test of a good literary creation: you can twist it around, bash it about, and it still works. So duh.

Yes, it’s a bit too long. Gorgeous Kelly Reilly has nothing like enough to do; Rachel McAdams has a damn sight too much, and Mark Strong wanders around like a panto villain. But look! It’s got genius Eddie Marsan! Geraldine James! James Fox!

People are only hoping to hate it because Guy Ritchie made it. I find this violent dislike of the man very puzzling. He married someone very famous, ultimately unhappily, got the vilest shite slung at him in the press for years, never complained, bore it all with grace and discretion, took care of his kids, and carried on doing what he loves even though it didn’t go very well. And I know several people who’ve met him and all say the same thing: he’s a really nice bloke. Go Guy. Make a sequel.

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