Thursday, December 31, 2009

Movie Review - Watson

My lady and I saw Sir Guy of Ritchie's newest movie, "Watson," and we found it wonderfully entertaining. It has little to do with the source material by the esteemed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of course, but that is not the point. The movie does not try to emulate Sir Arthur's style, but instead uses the source material as a rough skeleton for telling its own tale full of delightful costumes and sets.

The lead character is played by the talented Jude Law. His character has three motivations: to marry his lovely fiance (a commendable notion to be sure), to look dashing in Victorian-era clothing, and to get away from his sidekick, Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey, Jr.

Downey, Jr.'s Holmes is a frumpy man with amusing facial expressions and permanently tousled hair. Holmes's neurotic genius serves as a good counterpoint to Watson's steely cool. I fear that Sir Guy's love of macho fighting may have caused him to devote too much of the movie to the Holmes character, though this fortunately does not take the focus away from his lead.

Rachel McAdams plays Holmes's love interest, Irene Adler, whose only purpose in this movie is to pout and be American. She pouts a lot and is very American. I suspect she gets her spy gear from Wal-Mart. In any case, I am glad they chose to have this character be a romantic interest for the sidekick, as this allows Watson to have the much more interesting Mary Morstan, played by the (fortunately British) Kelly Reilly.

The villain is Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong. Unlike in many mysteries, there is never any doubt as to his identity. His villainy is over-the-top, and in some ways encapsulates what this movie is about: it is theatrical, unreserved, and shamelessly entertaining. There is a moment at the start of the movie between him and Watson that made me gasp aloud.

I would not think it is necessary to see this movie in theaters to enjoy it, but if you do, be sure to keep an eye on the sets. Sometimes it is nice to simply look around and see Sir Guy's version of turn-of-the-century London.

In conclusion, "Watson" is an entertaining, if not particularly deep, bit of cinema, and I recommend it to anyone who likes gaslights, top hats, and explosions.

1 comment:

bluefish said...

I found the film's one big flaw was the megalomaniacal cartooniness of the villain. Every time I saw him, I excepted some lantern-jawed hero to give him an uppercut.

Did the film really expect us to believe the British people would be cowed into fear by one man? That country survived the Blitz.

But then again, the esteemed Mr. Lovecraft can tell us all about the power fear can have.