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Stage, screen, and television adaptations or features using Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters turn on one simple, inescapable point: do we believe the actor as Holmes? If the answer is yes, then a bad story is still pretty good. If the answer is no, then whatever other attractions the story holds are worthless.
The answer here is clearly yes: Rupert Everett is very good as Sherlock Holmes. The transfer from print to screen is almost flawless. If anything, too much is made of Holmes' obvious flaws as a human being: his recreational drug use, patronizing arrogance, indifference to the feelings of others, preoccupation with the workings of his own mind. This Holmes reminds me of Dorian Gray. It is only his love of solving crimes that keeps him from committing them.
The story is pretty pedestrian. This isn't quite as bad as "the butler did it," but it's close. I won't spoil the movie as others here have by saying more. I liked the scenes where Holmes is reasoning out who the killer is. This was clever, unforeseen, and quite believable. But, from the time the chief suspect is identified, until he was finally caught .. the entire climax of the movie, in other words .. was ..well, trite, clichéd, and elementary, my dear Watson ..
Kudos to Helen McCrory and Perdita Weeks in supporting performances.
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