Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Elementary, my dear Trailerspotting.

Insofar as anything so grand as “controversy” can attach attach itself to the trailer-junkie community, some sort of, well, controversy has gathered round the promo for Guy Ritchie‘s upcoming assault on Sherlock Holmes. Recalling the whole Shutter Island furore, the …

Fri, Nov 20, 2009, 23:49

   

Insofar as anything so grand as “controversy” can attach attach itself to the trailer-junkie community, some sort of, well, controversy has gathered round the promo for Guy Ritchie‘s upcoming assault on Sherlock Holmes. Recalling the whole Shutter Island furore, the dispute hinges on whether you think the film looks like a steaming pile of turnips or the dog’s best pyjamas.

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We must, of course, face up to the problem of Mr Ritchie himself. There are, I guess, three takes on our Guy.

1. The man’s an idiot and that’s all there is to it. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was Mockney garbage from a monocled-toff whose aunt is the Fourth Duchess of Bufton Tufton and who eats poor children for supper. Snatch was more of the same. And as for Revolver

2. The man’s a decent entertainer who went off the rails all too quickly. Lock Stock and Snatch are perfectly good fun. Sadly, Swept Away and Revolver are among the most hilariously wretched films ever made. RocknRolla was a partial return to modest form.

3. The man’s a genius. Far from being pretentious drivel written, apparently, by a 19-year-old with a railway spike in his frontal lobe, Revolver is intellectual meat of the gamiest type. You just don’t get it.

Now, I tend towards the second option. As a result, I am rather well disposed toward this apparently unpretentious Sherlock Holmes. I bow to nobody in my devotion to the original stories, but Ritchie is, it seems, making no gestures towards faithfulness. So there’s no real reason to get hoity-toity about the trailer’s lack of Doyleness. This is Holmes as action hero and the promo suggests that penny-dreadful larks will not be in short supply. Okay, Downey Jr — an actor I can overdose on very easily — doesn’t quite have the accent right. Sure, the film seems very reliant on CGI backgrounds.

But Sherlock Holmes dives out of the Houses of Parliament into the Thames. He has a fight with a big man and his hammer — beside, I’m guessing, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s The Great Eastern — and various people appear to be rising untethered from the dead.¬† Come on. It’s bound to be a bit of a lark.

As far as weekly housekeeping goes, the film of the week is, without question, the Coens’ astringent, penetratingly pessimistic, weirdly hilarious A Serious Man. I was much¬† keener on Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! than many critics. And I remain pretty much on board with the latest episode of the teen bloodsucker mopefest that goes by the name of Twilight. Decide for yourselves, folks.