Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; crime, UK / USA, 2011; D: Guy Ritchie, S: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel McAdams

London, 1891. Several bomb attacks were attempted, whereas Irene Idler is killed. Sherlock Holmes suspects that Professor Moriarty is behind all this, but needs evidence and a motive. After his friend, Dr. Watson, got married, he travels with Holmes to Paris, in order to meet an anarchist group, as well as a gypsy, Simza. After another bombing, the German industrialists Meinhard is killed: after his death, his weapons factory belongs to Moriarty. In a Swiss mountain town, a conference is to be held between several heads of states. Holmes meets Moriarty there, who plans to set of a World War in order for his weapons factories to yield a profit. Holmes pushes Moriarty and himself down a cliff. Watson presumes the detective is dead, but there are clues he might have survived.

By crafting, planning, ideas and execution, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" easily catapulted itself into one of those rare sequels that are superior than the original. Unlike the uneven 1st film, this time director Guy Ritchie rises to the occasion: the authors assemble an incredible pace which never lets down, but what is even more impressive is that their inspiration almost never lets down, either. The opening act, for instance, shows a sequence where Irene thinks she is safe when she talks to Moriarty while she is in a restaurant, full of people, yet the villain just gives the sign and every last guest exits the place, leaving them two alone. Equally clever is the sequence where Holmes is planning how to fight an assassin hiding on the ceiling, and imagines six different moves to disarm him. However, just as Holmes engages the assassin and makes the first move, the bad guy is already taken care off when the gypsy woman throws a knife into his chest. The train sequence - especially in the manner in which Holmes puts a fake bullet in the ammunition of his enemies - is arguably the highlight of the movie, and reached the level of a mini-bravura moment. There is a lot more humor and style this time around, whereas the sole story is an incredibly subversive allegory on the arms industry: Moriarty, who bought so many weapons factories, at one point even admits: "I created the supply. Now I need to create the demand." It is still a little bit unorthodox that Holmes never wears his trademark hat or suit, whereas Jude Law is still an odd choice for Dr. Watson, yet this time around the cast seems to have found their own way, and created surprisingly great performances.


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