A Game of Shadows is a Sherlock Holmes adventure which proceeds at such a fast pace that you soon forget the enormous plot holes and lack of mystery in this flawed but entertaining roller-coaster ride.
Instead of being presented with a series of clues to puzzle out, we are instead treated to a high-octane Victorian Hollywood blockbuster, in which the superhero sleuth teams up with his old pal the doctor and before you know it Sherlock Hope and Bing Watson are off on The Road To Reichenbach.
As the story goes, it is 1891, and Holmes links a series of mysterious bombings and deaths to the sinister Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who appears intent on plunging the world into war in order to reap a profit for his arms manufacturing enterprise. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr), his friend Dr Watson (Jude Law) and gypsy fortune teller Madam Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace) then set off across Europe in order to prevent World War I, which historically speaking does seem a little pointless.
What ensues is a clever action movie complete with artful slow-motion scenes and great cinematography, as the swashbuckling Holmes and Watson engage in witty banter and comedic mayhem while trying to thwart Moriarty’s fiendish plan.
Aside from amusing performances by Downey and Law, Jared Harris was also convincing as Holmes’ devious arch-nemesis, while the multi-talented Stephen Fry put in an excellent performance as Holmes’ quirky older brother, Mycroft. However, the female characters are not given the opportunity to fare as well, as they are either kept in the background like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace, cast aside or thrown off a train.
Nevertheless, under the direction of Guy Ritchie ‘A Game of Shadows’ becomes a wholly fun and exuberant experience, albeit with a distinct Hollywood flavour.
The game is, err, on!
- Rated: PG-13
- Action, Adventure, Crime
- Release Date: 12/16/2011
- Directed by: Guy Ritchie
- Starring: Jared Harris, Jude Law, Kelly Reilly, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr., Stephen Fry
- Produced by: Dan Lin, Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey
- Written by: Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney
- Studio: Silver Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures