Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 film in which important elements, including the protagonists Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, are borrowed from the well-known stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin.
The screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg was developed from a story by Lionel Wigram and Michael Robert Johnson. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law portray Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively.

Holmes investigates a series of murders, apparently connected to occult rituals. Lord Blackwood is the mysterious villian. The story culimintes with a confrontation on top of Tower Bridge, still under construction.

The film went on general release in the United States on December 25, 2009, and on December 26, 2009, in the UK, Ireland, and the Pacific.

Sherlock Holmes
A man with smartly-styled hair and a rogueish smirk stands with his hands crossed at his waist. He is wearing an intricately-patterned waistcoat and hip-length leather trenchcoat. Over his shoulder looks a man with a moustache in a more traditional English suit wearing a top hat and leather gloves and holding a cane across his shoulder. The background contains a display featuring a window, obscured by the two men, surrounded by shelves containing objects including a revolver, a raven and a bottle. Above the shelves appear various visions including a gaunt-looking man in a high-collared coat, a bulldog and a woman with a seductive smile. Above the window the title "Sherlock Holmes" appears, while below the scene lies the caption "Holmes for the holiday".
Theatrical release
Directed by
Guy Ritchie
Produced by
Joel Silver
Lionel Wigram
Susan Downey
Dan Lin
Written by
Michael Robert Johnson
Anthony Peckham
Simon Kinberg
Lionel Wigram (Story)
Arthur Conan Doyle (Characters)
Robert Downey, Jr.
Jude Law
Rachel McAdams
Mark Strong
Eddie Marsan
Hans Matheson
Music by
Hans Zimmer
Philippe Rousselot
Editing by
James Herbert
Silver Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Distributed by
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
December 24, 2009 (2009-12-24)
December 25, 2009 (2009-12-25)
(United States)
02009-12-26 December 26, 2009
(United Kingdom)

Running time
128 minutes
United Kingdom
United States
$90 million
Gross revenue

In 1891 London, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) race to prevent a human sacrifice ritual conducted by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Holmes and Watson stop the sacrifice just in time and neutralize Lord Blackwood while Holmes saves Watson from a glass shard Blackwood used to kill his enemies that he barely sees until the last second, after which the police, led by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), arrive and arrest him.
Blackwood's execution occurs three months later, during which Holmes has become bored without a new case. Watson prepares to leave 221B Baker Street to establish his own business, and he intends to marry Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). Blackwood requests Holmes' presence on the day of his execution, and warns him that three more deaths will occur after his execution that will change the very nature of their world. Blackwood is executed by hanging, and declared dead by Dr. Watson himself.
Holmes is re-acquainted with Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a world-class criminal Holmes is smitten with. She offers him a sum of money to pursue a case of a missing red-haired midget by the name of Reordan. Holmes quickly disguises himself and follows Adler as she leaves to find the identity of Adler's employer but can only surmise that he is a professor from a brief glance of him.
Three days after Blackwood's execution, his tomb is found shattered from the inside out, and an eyewitness reports seeing Blackwood walking away. Holmes, Watson, and police chief Lestrade find Blackwood's coffin contains the body of the red-haired midget. Holmes takes a pocket watch from the corpse, identifies it as having come from a London pawn shop, and obtains an address for its owner from the business. At the midget's home, they discover several chemistry experiments. They avoid capture by three thugs, arsonists who have arrived to destroy the evidence in the home. An elaborate chase ensues with Holmes and Watson narrowly escaping death several times and ending with a steamship that was being built in a naval yard sinking in the river Thames; the pair are then arrested for property damage.
Watson is soon released on bail by Miss Morstan, while Holmes is left in jail and later taken to the Temple of the Four Orders, an occult-dabbling secret society. The leaders, Sir Thomas (James Fox) and Lord Coward (Hans Matheson), reveal Blackwood was a former member and plead for Holmes to help stop him. Holmes declines their generous offers of reward but continues to pursue the case on his own terms. During the conversation, Holmes deduces that Blackwood is the son of Sir Thomas, a secret which Sir Thomas confirms.
As Holmes and Watson investigate, two senior members of the order are killed by Blackwood, through apparently magical means. Sir Thomas drowns in his bathtub and there is no trace of anybody else having been present. The other, Ambassador Standish bursts into flames when he attempts to shoot Blackwood during an Order meeting. Blackwood, with the assistance of Lord Coward who is revealed to have been his long time ally, then assumes control of the order, intending to use the Order's power to push for Britain to retake the United States as it has been weakened by civil war. Blackwood orders Coward to issue a warrant for Holmes' arrest.
Holmes and Watson follow clues to an industrial slaughterhouse, where they are taunted by Blackwood and forced to rescue Adler from a deadly conveyor belt trap. Watson chases after Blackwood but is caught by a tripwire, setting off an explosion; Watson is able to warn Holmes and Adler to safety but is badly injured himself. Holmes learns he is wanted by the police and goes into hiding. He realizes that Blackwood is attempting to cast a spell based on the sphinx, with the three murdered men tied to three of the mythical creature's animal constituents: man, ox, and eagle. Holmes deduces the fourth symbol the lion, represents the British Parliament. Holmes allows Lestrade to capture and bring him to the Home Secretary. Overconfident, Lord Coward reveals Blackwood's plan for wiping out all the Lords except those loyal to him. Holmes escapes, diving out the window into the river Thames, and is rescued by a waiting boat with Watson and Adler in it.

The film's climax takes place on the unfinished Tower Bridge.
The three enter the sewers beneath Parliament and discover a complex machine, based on the midget's experiments, with a radio-controller trigger to release a cyanide derivative into the Parliament chambers. The three fight off Blackwood's men and dislodge the cyanide cylinders from the machine. Adler grabs the cylinders and races away, followed by Holmes.
Meanwhile, Blackwood and Coward realize their plan has failed and attempt to escape. Blackwood manages to get away but Coward is unable to leave. Holmes confronts Adler at the top of the Tower Bridge, still under construction since she has nowhere to run, but Blackwood's arrival knocks Adler to a lower platform, where she falls unconscious. Holmes tricks Blackwood into becoming entangled in the ropes and chains, and Blackwood is left hanging precariously over the Thames while Holmes recounts that all of Blackwood's "mystical" acts were simply applications of science and trickery. Holmes intends for Blackwood to stand trial and be appropriately executed but a loose beam falls off the rafter supports, causing Blackwood to plummet off the bridge and be hanged by the chains.
Holmes helps Adler recover, though he handcuffs her. She explains that her employer is a "Professor Moriarty", warning Holmes that Moriarty "is just as brilliant as he is, and infinitely more devious". Holmes drops the key to the cuffs in Adler's shirt and leaves her, returning to Watson. The police arrive to report a dead officer found near Blackwood's device, and Holmes deduces that chasing Adler and fighting Blackwood was a diversion by Moriarty, who used the distraction to take a key component of Blackwood's remote control device from the machine. Holmes accepts the case.

  • Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. Downey was visiting Joel Silver's offices with his wife producer Susan Downey, when he learned about the project. Ritchie initially felt Downey was too old for the role because he wanted the film to show a younger Holmes on a learning curve like Batman Begins. Ritchie decided to take a chance on casting him in the role, and Downey told the BBC that "I think me and Guy are well-suited to working together. The more I look into the books, the more fantastic it becomes. Holmes is such a weirdo." Downey also revealed what his wife had to say: "that when you read the description of the guy — quirky and kind of nuts — it could be a description of me." Downey intends to focus more on Holmes's patriotic side and his bohemianism, and felt that his work on Chaplin has prepared him for an English accent. Ritchie feels his accent is "flawless". Both Downey and Ritchie are martial arts enthusiasts, and have been inspired by the Bartitsu mentioned in the 1901 story The Adventure of the Empty House. Downey lost weight for the part, because during a chat he had with Chris Martin, Martin recommended that Holmes look "gaunt" and "skinny".
  • Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, Holmes's ally, a surgeon and a war veteran. Law's Watson is more like the original character, who was more of a colleague, rather than the bumbling fool that actor Nigel Bruce popularized in the 1930s–40s films. Law previously appeared in the Granada Television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in an episode based on The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place. Being a Holmes fan, Law recognized there was material unexplored in other adaptations and was intrigued by Downey's casting; Law was cast because he had a positive meeting with Downey and concurred the film would have to explore Holmes and Watson's friendship. Downey believed by emphasizing Watson's qualities as a former soldier, a doctor, a womaniser and a gambler, it would make for a more interesting foil for Holmes. Law made a notebook of phrases from the stories to improvise into his dialogue. Ritchie originally envisioned Russell Crowe in the role.
  • Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, a femme fatale from New Jersey who outwitted Holmes twice.In the film, Adler is no longer married to Godfrey Norton and needs Holmes' help for the case.Downey convinced Ritchie to cast McAdams, arguing she would not look too young to be his love interest.
  • Mark Strong as Lord (Henry) Blackwood, the main antagonist. An aristocrat dabbling in the occult to compel others to do his bidding. Strong works with director Ritchie for the third time and says he appreciates the directors lack of ego and how easy he is to work with.
  • Kelly Reilly as Mary Morstan. Watson wishes to settle down with her, causing a conflict with Holmes.
  • Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade.
  • Hans Matheson as Lord Coward, the Home Secretary. Blackwood's right-hand man, who assisted Blackwood in all his murders and was the only one of his allies aware of Blackwood's usage of technology to feign magical powers.
  • Geraldine James as Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes' landlady.
  • James Fox as Sir Thomas Rotherham, father of Lord Henry Blackwood and Head of the Four Orders.
  • Robert Maillet as Dredger, a French henchman working for Blackwood.
Director Guy Ritchie declined to say who voiced the character of Professor Moriarty. Rumors suggested that the part was voiced by Brad Pitt, who has been reported to have expressed strong interest in the sequel.Actor Ed Tolputt is credited as "Anonymous Man" although it is not clear if this refers to Moriarty.

Producer Lionel Wigram remarked that for around ten years, he had been thinking of new ways to depict Sherlock Holmes. "I realized the images I was seeing in my head [when reading the stories] were different to the images I'd seen in previous films." He imagined "a much more modern, more bohemian character, who dresses more like an artist or a poet", namely Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. After leaving his position as executive for Warner Bros. in 2006, Wigram sought a larger scope to the story so it could attract a large audience, and amalgamated various Holmes stories to flesh it out further. Lord Blackwood is based on Aleister Crowley (although, the name could be a portmanteau inspired by fantasy novelist Lord Dunsany and horror novelist Algernon Blackwood), which was due to Doyle's own fascination with the occult. The producer felt he was "almost clever" pitting Holmes, who has an almost supernatural ability to solve crimes, against a supposedly supernatural villain. Wigram wrote and John Watkiss drew a 25-page comic book about Holmes in place of a spec script. Professor Moriarty's existence is hinted in the script to set up the sequels.
In March 2007, Warner Bros. chose to produce, seeing similarities in the concept with Batman Begins. Arthur Conan Doyle's estate had some involvement in sorting out legal issues, although the stories are in the public domain in the United States. Neil Marshall was set to direct, but Guy Ritchie signed on to direct in June 2008.When a child at boarding school, Ritchie and other pupils listened to the Holmes stories through dormitory loudspeakers. "Holmes used to talk me to sleep every night when I was seven years old," he said. Therefore, his image of Holmes differed from the films. He wanted to make his film more "authentic" to Doyle, explaining, "There's quite a lot of intense action sequences in the stories, [and] sometimes that hasn't been reflected in the movies." Holmes' "brilliance will percolate into the action", and the film will show that his "intellect was as much of a curse as it was a blessing". Ritchie sought to make Sherlock Holmes a "very contemporary film as far as the tone and texture", because it has been "a relatively long time since there's been a film version that people embraced".
Filming began in October 2008. The crew shot at Freemasons' Hall and St Paul's Cathedral. Filming was done in Manchester's Northern Quarter, while the Town Hall was used for a fight scene (which required smashing stained glass windows). They shot the opening scene for three days at St Bartholomew-the-Great church in London, and shot on the river Thames at Wapping for a scene involving a steamboat on 7 November. Filming continued at Stanley Dock and Clarence Dock in Liverpool.Street scenes were filmed in cobbled alleyways in Chatham and Manchester. Brompton Cemetery in London was used for a key scene, and the palatial 19th-century interior of the Reform Club stood in for the Café Royal. Scenes from the interior of 221B Baker Street were shot on a sound stage at Leavesden Studios.
In late November 2008, actor Robert Maillet, who played Dredger, was filming a fight scene at Chatham Dockyard in Kent, and accidentally punched Robert Downey, Jr. in the face, causing Downey to be bloodied and knocked down, but not knocked unconscious as originally reported. The Sun reported that on November 28, a tank truck caught fire, forcing filming to stop for two hours. When filming at St John's Street in December, the schedule had to be shortened from 13 to nine days because locals complained about how they would always have to park cars elsewhere during the shoot. In January 2009, filming moved to Brooklyn.
Ritchie wanted his Holmes' costume to play against the popular image of the character, joking "there is only one person in history who ever wore a deerstalker". Downey selected the character's hat, a beat-up fedora . The director kept to the tradition of making Holmes and Watson's apartment quite messy, and had it decorated with artifacts and scientific objects from the continents they would have visited.

Director Guy Ritchie used the soundtrack from the film The Dark Knight by Zimmer as temporary music during editing. Zimmer was pleased when Ritchie asked him to do the score but told him to do something completely different. Zimmer described his score to Ritchie as the sound of the Pogues joining a Romanian orchestra. For the musical accompaniment, composer Hans Zimmer used a banjo, cimbalom, squeaky violins, and a "broken pub piano". At first Zimmer had his own piano detuned, but found that it sounded out of tune. He asked his assistant to locate a broken piano. The first piano they located was passed over as it obviously had been cared for, but the second one was the one they used in the production. Zimmer said "We rented 20th Century Fox’s underground car park one Sunday and did hideous things to a piano."
  1. Discombobulate (2:25)
  2. Is It Poison, Nanny? (2:53)
  3. I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before (1:44)
  4. My Mind Rebels At Stagnation (4:31)
  5. Data, Data, Data (2:15)
  6. He's Killed The Dog Again (3:15)
  7. Marital Sabotage (3:44)
  8. Not In Blood, But In Bond (2:13)
  9. Ah, Putrefaction (1:50)
  10. Panic, Sheer Bloody Panic (2:38)
  11. Psychological Recovery... 6 Months (18:18)
  12. Catatonic (6:44)

The Irish folk song The Rocky Road to Dublin as sung by The Dubliners is used during the boxing match and when Holmes fights with the Frenchman and in the final credits.
The single Unstoppable by E.S. Posthumus is used in the trailers for the film.

The film had its world premiere on December 14, 2009, in London and was subsequently released worldwide on December 25, 2009 (December 26 in the UK and Ireland), after being pushed from a November release date. An advance charity screening was held in select locations in Belgium on December 10, 2009.

Source : Wikipedia

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