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Sherlock Holmes

USA / Germany 2009
produced by
Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Bruce Berman (executive), Michael Tadross (executive) for Village Roadshow, Silver Pictures, Wigram Productions/Warner Brothers
directed by Guy Ritchie
starring Robert Downey jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Robert Maillet, Geraldine James, Kelly Reilly, William Houston, Hans Matheson, James Fox, William Hope, Clive Russell, Oran Gurel, David Garrick, Kylie Hutchinson, Andrew Brooke, Tom Watt, John Kearney, Sebastian Abineri, Jonathan Gabriel Robbins, James A.Stephens, Terry Taplin, Bronagh Gallagher, Ed Tolputt, Joe Egan, Jefferson Hall, Miles Jupp, Marn Davies, Andrew Greenough, Ned Dennehy, Martin Ewens, Amanda Grace Johnson
screen story by Lionel Wigram, Michael Robert Johnson, screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg, based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Hanns Zimmer

Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey jr), Irene Adler

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) has just been captured and executed for a series of ritualistic murders thanks to Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey jr), but his triumph is a bitter one because it was his last case his trusted friend Watson (Jude Law) has agreed to see through with him before moving out of their joint apartment and getting married to Mary (Kelly Reilly), his longtime fiancée Holmes rejects to even meet. Following the solution of the Blackwood-case, Holmes locks himself away in his room, brooding ... until it is reported that Blackwood has risen from the grave, and when opening his coffin, indeed another man is found inside - and that despite the fact that Holmes saw him hang and Watson made sure he was dead personally.

Holmes now runs around town to collect evidence, and somehow he always manages to coerce Watson into assisting him, even if that might throw a spanner into Watson's marriage plans. Eventually, Holmes comes across the only woman he ever loved, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a master criminal who has managed to trick Holmes not once but twice. She was hired by a certain (unseen) professor Moriarty to keep an eye on Holmes, but she more and more falls in love with him instead.

After much to and fro that basically leads to the conclusion that Blackwood is still alive and the leader of a secret black magic brotherhood that wants to take over parliament, and to a warrant issued for the arrest of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes finds out that Blackwood wants to poison parliament - something that's supposed to look like black magic. However, Holmes doesn't believe into such mumbojumbo and soon finds a machine in the sewers beneath parliament that's supposed to do the trick. While battling the enemy, Holmes, Watson and Irene Adler manage to disarm the machine, but then Irene takes off with the poisoned gas containers, and while pursuing her, Holmes has to fight Blackwood, too, who ends his life hanged by the neck on top of the still under construction Tower Bridge, but not before Holmes explains everything away, including how Blackwood faked his own death, and how he used elaborate conjuring tricks to make everyone believe he was a black magician. Holmes manages to capture Irene Adler, take the containers from her and put handcuffs on her - but then he realizes she has been only used by Moriarty as a distraction, and thus he provides her with the means for escape as well ...


I'm of two minds about this movie:

On one hand it's very sloppily written, lacks narrative stringency, pulls explanations out of the hat left and right, and confronts Holmes with a ridiculously big case to solve, a case that's supposed to be scary and esoteric but is too simple to figure out if you have seen only one other Sherlock Holmes, mystery, actually. On top of that, the film tries to be a reinterpretation of the Sherlock Holmes of old, but quite frankly, it hasn't anything new to say about the character that hasn't said before - the reinterpretation suggests a browse through a reference book more than a serious investigation of the character. And whatever homoerotic and woman-hating tendencies Holmes seems to show at first, they are all of a sudden blown away when Irene Adler enters the picture, and the lovestory between him and her is nothing short of cheesy. Also, depicting Holmes as a skilled martial artist is a bit much, especially when in other scenes he comes across as particularly clumsy ...

That all said though, on the other hand, the film isn't bad either: Its direction is well-paced without losing itself in stuff like machinegun editing and the like, its approach to the source material is rather light-hearted and likeable, and the cast is pretty much first rate - and even if Robert Downey does not convince as Sherlock Holmes, he convinces as an actor and almost effortlessly carries the movie.

In all, it's certainly not the Sherlock Holmes-movie we have all been waiting for or couldn't do without, but it's ok entertainment.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD