“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”
When it comes down to it, few sequels are as good as the original. Even amongst those rare few films that accomplish that feat, it is even more unlikely that it will eclipse the success of the original (either critically or commercially). Here – as with “Kung Fu Panda 2” – is a rare example of that feat being achieved. “Sherlock Homes: a Game of Shadows” is a masterpiece of many parts! It is stunning in both pace and style. It has chemistry with the actors as well as an exquisite script. In short, this film is director Guy Ritchie’s artistry & mastery showcased in all its glory.
If you saw the 1st reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective by Guy Ritchie, you think you know how this film will move. You would be wrong. The 1st film had a more detective story feel to it, with action thrown in to really spice it up. “Game of Shadows” is much more action-based, but with a devilishly clever storyline that just keeps moving. The film literally feels like a train ride: slow to start, chugging along it begins to build speed, and finally hurtling towards its conclusion. I loved the pace to this film!
As for the acting, it is in a word: outstanding! Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are an absolute delight as Holmes and Dr. Watson! There are times in this film where the chemistry that they have on screen is so real that you forget that they are just actors! They are utterly believable, both as the parts they play and as friends. Their witty dialogue and banter is fitting for both of these guys, and they take you on a journey of peril that feels pretty darned real! These guys just simple excel at their craft!
As for Mr. Ritchie, you have to have a subtle hand for directing actors of this caliber. He really showed that he can handle tender scenes with a deft approach that didn’t overdramatize the scene. THAT takes talent! His action sequences are spot-on brilliant and the momentum of the story just keeps building. I also loved that Ritchie never loosens up, and by that I mean he kept the tension right there. This is a man who understands the material and the characters extremely well and has pulled it all together in this incredibly precise manner. It’s one of the best directorial efforts I have seen in a long time!
I found myself fascinated at how the story evolved. I was wondering what really happened with Arleen. I didn’t know what Moriarty was up to. I couldn’t see all the patterns developing into a cohesive whole, but I felt certain that was something there. Sherlock kept finding himself in these really perilous situations – and as soon as he got free of one, he was racing into the next one! I didn’t know how Moriarty was creating this “game” or how Sherlock would stop him! I loved the suspense, the mystery, and the entire story! This is a very compelling film, a marvelous achievement!
Without question, I highly recommend “Game of Shadows”! Go see it in the theatre! Or, if you already have, go see it again! This is a film that warrants at least 2 or 3 viewings.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE