Two Stars – Disturbing
Though all of us realize that even the greatest human beings are flawed, director Guy Ritchie’s presentation of the famed detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) depicts him as a lonely and isolated alcoholic. Troubled in love and bored by life, Holmes’ renowned skills at observation and logical deductions have become as much a curse as a blessing. But however dark and disturbing this movie may be, its intrigue is ingenious.
Accompanying Holmes in his adventures is Dr. John Watson (Jude Law). A handsome physician who is attempting to free himself from their unhealthy relationship and begin married life, Watson is also presented as flawed in his addiction to gambling. The duo is mutually supportive in their work as well as in their attempts to deal with their addictions.
The villain of the film comes from a secretive group who manipulates government and society. Believing in magic, this group’s superstition is turned against them by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) whose ritual conception gives him special status and ambition. When Blackwood uses ritual murders to enhance his power and prestige, Holmes gets involved in finding and stopping him. But the turn of the tale is far from predictable and takes us into the darkness of a criminal mind and occult practices.
The two ladies of the film are Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) and Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). Adler is a world-class thief who holds the distinction of being the only criminal to outsmart Holmes – twice. The allure of her beauty and intellect attracts Holmes even though he knows he cannot trust her, while her interest in him is a major part of the plot.
Mary Morstan is the fiancée of Watson. At first Morstan is enamored with Holmes, but she quickly realizes that his unusual hold on Watson is a competition she did not expect. This highlights the depth of their bond and their inability to live a normal life.
We won’t spoil the mystery or reveal the twists in the relationships, but the dark nature of this film cinematically and topically is disappointing. But that is not to say that the quality of the acting, writing, casting and directing are lacking. It is a film with cinematic quality that outshines its storyline. As such, it is a film that many will enjoy watching, but its lack of spiritual and moral values is disturbing.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. The belief that there is a secret organization controlling our institutions is a common fear. Do you believe there is such a “skull and bones” conspiracy? Why or why not?
2. The attraction which Holmes and Adler share suffers from their lack of trust. Do you believe that a couple who lacks trust can overcome this and have a healthy relationship?
3. The mutual support that Holmes and Watson provide for one another is only moderately effective in helping each of them deal with their addictions. Why do you think this is?