Sherlock Holmes

December 25th, 2009

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Sherlock Holmes

Still of James Fox and Mark Strong in Sherlock HolmesStill of Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock HolmesLionel Wigram at event of Sherlock HolmesStill of Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock HolmesStill of Jude Law in Sherlock HolmesStill of Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 7.5/10 (185,648 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Director: Guy Ritchie

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

After finally catching serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler.

Writers: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham

Robert Downey Jr. - Sherlock Holmes
Jude Law - Dr. John Watson
Rachel McAdams - Irene Adler
Mark Strong - Lord Blackwood
Eddie Marsan - Inspector Lestrade
Robert Maillet - Dredger
Geraldine James - Mrs. Hudson
Kelly Reilly - Mary Morstan
William Houston - Constable Clark
Hans Matheson - Lord Coward
James Fox - Sir Thomas Rotheram
William Hope - Ambassador Standish
Clive Russell - Captain Tanner
Oran Gurel - Reordan
David Garrick - McMurdo

Taglines: Jude Law is Watson


Official Website: Warner Bros. [France] | Warner Bros. [Japan] |

Release Date: 25 December 2009

Filming Locations: Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, West Brompton, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $62,304,277 (USA) (27 December 2009) (3626 Screens)

Gross: $209,028,679 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Director of photography Philippe Rousselot used a special high-speed digital camera specifically to film the Punch Bowl fight sequence. The key moment where Holmes punches his opponent's jaw was filmed one second in real-time and turned into a seven-second shot without additional post-production aid.

Continuity: When Holmes and Watson are taken to Lord Blackwood's slaughter house, they both jump from the Lucy into the shallow water near shore and make their way to the building. In the very next scene, their clothes are dry.

[first lines]
Sherlock Holmes: [voice-over] Head cocked to the left, partial deafness in ear: first point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be a heavy drinker, floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, martial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely.

User Review

It saddens me ...

Rating: 9/10

... not the movie, but the number of self-professed Holmes aficionados who apparently have no knowledge of Holmes. For the record, Holmes was a miserable, irresponsible drug addict who did indeed sleep on the floor, insult his best friend, experiment on his dog, and never ever wore a deerstalker's cap (at least, not until television was invented). He was a brawler who practiced martial arts and was as likely to slum around in the filthiest of rags as he was a suit.

It wasn't until after Doctor Watson took him in hand that he truly refined himself and became a "respectable" member of society. And yes, we can tell that this movie takes place THAT early in their relationship because Watson has not yet married his wife (the retconning did annoy me, too, by the way, but you just can't avoid a little re-imagining here and there).

Speaking of unavoidable, Irene Adler, Holmes' one uncapturable (is that a word?), simply had to be cast as a potential love interest. The flirting, the romance, and the near-make-out session were irresistible to the director (and to all of the audience who're honest with themselves).

That being said, I felt Robert Downey, Jr. played Sherlock Holmes to perfection. His characteristic caustic attitude towards Lestrade and even Watson at times was exactly how I'd imagine him. He gives several summations of his observations and deductions that brought Holmes to life in an almost unparalleled way. His fight scenes (preceded the first few times by superhuman calculations) show both the mental and physical sides of Holmes in ways that Watson's notes can't quite convey, but at which they constantly hint.

As for Watson himself, Jude Law delivered a wonderful performance. I was a little skeptical of how well he fought, given Watson's wartime injury, but his character and demeanor were entirely on the nose. His loyalty to Holmes despite his frustrations with him could not have been captured more expertly, I feel. No one, no matter how patient or forgiving, could endure Holmes forever without the occasional confrontation. The original Holmes, after all, was not above insulting his best friend or even deriding his deductive capabilities at times. Nevertheless, Watson never could abandon his friend in his time of need.

This version (or vision, if you will) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest creation may be more swashbuckling, more thrilling, and more edgy than any other incarnation, but that doesn't make it any less faithful to the original. Aside from a little revisionist history in the cases of the female leads, nothing is that far out of the ordinary; and no amount of references to Madonna will change that.

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