I don’t walk out of films much. In fact, hardly ever. I can count them on one hand. I gave up with Showgirls. I walked out of Duplicity. I voted with my feet when the lady’s breasts got shot in Crank 2*. And now, I have done the same with Sherlock Holmes. This was at the Empire in Leicester Square, a really excellent screen (albeit a cinema whose foyer seems designed after a cattle market), and surely the perfect setting for the post-Christmas blockbuster romp. It was full, which means, by the law of averages, there were people talking and texting either side of us, but frankly, I didn’t blame them. What a terrible film. Unengaging, overly fond of itself, miscast, and actually rather dull – and this is a Sherlock Holmes film! We lasted about 45 minutes, at which point the escape was coordinated and executed. (Sorry for treading on the toes of the young man to our left who had actually taken a call on his mobile during the film, without even leaving his seat!)
I won’t pick it to pieces. I take no pleasure in that – nor do I take pleasure in paying for a film and not seeing it through to the end. Indeed, I remain a huge admirer of Guy Ritchie’s early work – ie. Lock, Stock and Snatch – but as time marches on, it seems he had his creative moment and that creative moment has now passed. I seriously wondered why Warner Bros let him spend all this money on a supposedly iconoclastic “reimagining” of the famous detective (cor, he’s a bare knuckle fighter!) – but hey, they were right to take that punt, as it’s taken almost $150m in the States, where only Avatar kept it off the number one box office slot in Christmas week. But I just didn’t buy into it. Robert Downey Jr, whose comeback fills me with cheer (and who hugged me at the Baftas last year), seems to have opted to keep him mouth shut as he talks, in order to preserve his English accent; as a result, you really can’t quite hear what he’s saying. Jude Law is just Jude Law with a moustache – I guess you either love him or you don’t – and Rachel McAdams doesn’t convince at all. I don’t need the question “Why is the female lead an American?” answering, as I realise her character Irene Adler did actually appear in one Holmes story (A Scandal In Bohemia: I’ve seen the excellent Jeremy Brett adaptation), but this isn’t that story. So why is she?
I feel locked out of the love-in, here, as many have enjoyed the film and word-of-mouth has kept it afloat at the box office. But I went along in good faith, hoping to enjoy it, so the fact that I didn’t seems to be largely rooted in what I thought of the film. Ah well, at least I got an hour and a quarter of my life back.
*I forgot about Crank 2 and added this in after the first draft of this blog entry, hence the comments below reminding me. Well reminded!