Sunday, January 10, 2010

The detective

The book
I first read Sherlock Holmes in 2004. My dormmate, Amian Tauli, kindly lent me his copy, a thick compilation of the most popular works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I hadn't finished reading all the stories, but Sir Doyle's works were, to sum it all up, an easy read—a lot like Agatha Christie's, actually—which almost always prompted me to name the antagonist and prematurely solve the puzzle even before I had read half of the story. But, sadly, I never did get to solve anything.

The movie
Interestingly, I didn't even have to wrestle with my previous mental imagery of Sherlock Holmes (who looked a lot like Pierce Brosnan) with the movie character played by Robert Downey Jr. Downey was a natural. I liked it when he summarized, in slow motion, the maneuvers he did prior to actually doing them. Jude Law as Dr. John Watson was great, too; he sounded smart, but in an academic sort of way. I have to agree with my brother that the Holmes-Watson tandem was reminiscent of Dr. Gregory House and Dr. James Wilson of the popular TV series House MD.

Unlike other detective stories, this one seemed logical. In the end, the facts fell into place without a lot of hocus-pocus. I just wished I had studied more of my chemistry to know if the chemical reactions Sherlock was talking about truly had sense.

I loved the cinematography: the colors were bleak, in a Sweeney Todd-ish kind of way. I also loved the music by Hans Zimmer—that man never disappoints. The conversations were smart, but a lot of it I didn't get: when Englishmen speak English very fast, the sound like they're speaking German.

And, this might sound trivial to many, but what made me love the movie more was the typography. The headline font in the newspaper was perfect, so was the font for the closing credits. These things do matter.

The movie is a must-watch for those who've read Sherlock Holmes and for those who haven't. It gives you a different perspective, a different facet, to this classic detective character, and it inspires you to get to know him more.

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