Saturday, December 17, 2011
"Game of Shadows" - the Sherlock Holmes sequel (directed by Guy Ritchie) - is a slick fast-paced thrilling feature sure to appeal across the board to traditionalists (and, in particular, fans of the eccentric sleuth conjured up decades ago by the celebrated mystery writer Arthur Conan Doyle).
Personally, I found the previous installment (also helmed by Madonna's ex) too convoluted to take seriously (hated it!).
Here, the filmmakers have struck a fine balance between comedy and drama - for the most part - though Ritchie has fallen short in cinematic circles for sacrificing substance over style.
The end result?
"Shadows" is a vastly entertaining popcorn movie that is flawed when it comes to sophisticated film buffs expecting more bang for their buck.
With a bit of sleight of hand, Ritchie attempts to whip up that screen magic, nonetheless - with the ultimate aim of manipulating and seducing his targeted audience at whim - but, because he lacks a certain finesse (the lightweight "indie" director" is a novice when it comes to actual full-fledged movie-making skills) he can't help but sabotage the project from the get-go with a heavy hand.
At times, instead of effecting a light touch when it is needed, he ends up charging in like an awkward elephant crashing the party (I dare say).
And, what a soiree it is, replete with romantic distractions, sexual innuendos, and titillating scenes featuring dazzling boy-wonder Robert Downey, Jr. (starring) in drag.
When all else fails, Ritchie relies on gimmickry - slo-mo-action and a handful of out-dated cinematic techniques - to try to manipulate and seduce the audience in-the-door.
Because the strings are visibly showing, the hapless Hollywood hopeful (wannabee movie mogul?) falls short of the task at hand.
2 1/2 stars!