Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Bromance

Law and Downey Jr. make the best on-screen couple since Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise almost had steamy vampire sex with each other. 
I went to see Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows last night and have quite a bit to say about it today. Let's forget that I'm not a huge Guy Ritchie fan...ok I dislike him with gusto, so I wasn't expecting too much. Yet I'm not a Conan Doyle purist either, if someone wants to take the material and run with it, it's their prerogative. Nearly all of that is irrelevant, let's talk about sex. I was pleasantly surprised to surmise that this was the most homoerotic themed film since Interview with the Vampire (1994). What's interesting is how unintentionally homoerotic it is, or maybe I'm not giving Ritchie enough credit here, the bromance between Law and Downey Jr. was well played in the first installment, and perhaps they utilized it in this one. But I really did enjoy the way they parlayed those themes into a Conan Doyle action-thriller.
Forgoing conventional casting for the role of Sim the gypsy fortuneteller, Ritchie chose the rough-around-the-edges and exponentially masculine actress Noomi Rapace from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame. So even though her character first seemed to drive a wedge into the unrequited bro-mance between Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) she quickly falls into her place as a plot catalyst negating any romantic ideas that might have been inadvertently implicated by her presence as the sole female character in the film with the exception of Watson's bride (Kelly Reilly) who disappears half way through the first act. 
Even if you've yet to see the film you know that Downey Jr. has a scene where he is dressed in drag, as it is featured prominently in the trailer, which he has stated he himself thought up because the initial idea was for him to go in disguise as a priest or something 'lame' like that. Downey describes the idea saying that he wanted Watson to be distracted by another woman that wasn't his wife. 
After a lengthy gun battle, where no one is a good shot at all and manages to hit a lot of wood that explodes like cream cheese for some reason, Holmes finds himself lying on the floor of a train car awaiting another lengthy rain of bullets, shirtless, with Tiffany's Blue eye-shadow sliding down his face. 
'Lie down with me Watson' he beckons, it's of course very humorous and meant to be a double entendre, but the erotic undertones are there. I wished the two would start making out right then and there, but when do I ever get what I wish for? Can you even imagine how hot that would be? People's Sexiest Man Alive and an American sex icon? I think everyone would buy a ticket.
Clearly, Holmes is the more masculine of the two, with Law playing Watson as some sort of turn-of-the-century gallant-doctor-genius who is very meticulous about how his outfit is put together. It absolutely the right creative choice, because it makes the relationship between him and Holmes a tender and romantic one, rather than just one of respect, camaraderie and a kind of symbiotic intellectual farce. It makes it much more interesting, particularly in times when the two are in peril. They are far more quick to comfort each other rather than let Sim (Rapace) cry on either of their shoulders. In the end it's what drives the film. 
The story itself, and the eventuality of solving a complex, mathematical, and irretrievably impractical and flawed mystery that is the supposed plot is not as inciting as the relationship between the two main characters who breaking from cinematic tradition are both male. The two leads have more chemistry with each other than with any woman that happens to catch a couple of lines with either of them in the film. 
In a film as macho as Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (I & II) there's going to be an overabundance of fighting, punching, bullets, and man-humor, but he manages to tell a compelling story of devotion and unwavering love between Holmes and Watson which was really the focal point of the series, executed with tongue-in-cheek poignancy by Downey and Law. Cheers mates. 

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