Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows


Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has to be one of the silliest films of the year. It manically takes suspension of disbelief and hangs it by the neck until it is dead. It takes elements from the original stories and exaggerates them, blowing them out of all proportion: Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.)'s drug taking, his chaotic accommodation, his disguises which become chameleon like; and his knowledge of Eastern martial arts become full on Kung Foo fighting. The film is an almost continuous action sequence full of chases and explosions. Holmes plays out the action in his mind. First we see how events play out one way, then the other, and then how they finally play out. By the end of the film, milking action sequences like this has become tedious. In combination with slow motion bullet time style shots, it kills the flow of the film.

A Game of Shadows is based very loosely around Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Final Problem. In it, Holmes and Watson (Jude Law) try and foil Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)'s dastardly plan of world shattering proportions. They are helped through the somewhat flimsy plot by the Gypsy Madam Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace) and Mycroft (Stephen Fry) with his occasional gentle jokes about homosexuality.

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Released for the Christmas audience, this film does have a touch of the pantomime about it. The actors serve up their performances with big slices of ham. Rapace defiantly has touches of Principle Boy in her performance and Robert Downey Jr. gets to crash around in women's clothing with makeup splattered over his face, a Dame if ever you saw one. If it weren't for the problems with pacing it would be quite easy to be carried away by this film. With its over the top visuals and light hearted dialogue it is the perfect accompaniment to popcorn.

Just before Holmes and Moriarty finally have it out the film has a little touch of darkness and realism but that doesn't last. On with the action.

Despite its problems with pacing and its complete lack of substance Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is fun to watch. It does have to be seen on the big screen for the stunts and effects to work.

Reviewed on: 17 Dec 2011
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Holmes and Watson confront a nefarious plot that threatens world stability.
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Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney, based on the short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams, Stephen Fry

Year: 2011

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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