Guy Ritchie, Surprisingly, Will Adapt Sherlock Holmes

June 4, 2008

Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie has certainly proven his ability to bring life to the dark, sexy underworld of British crime - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Revolver. So it might come as a surprise to many, including me, that Ritchie has signed on to rewrite and direct a "re-imagining" of the detective icon Sherlock Holmes. A modern, updated take on the famous investigator is certainly not without merit. The Holmes character originally appeared in 1887 and has been adapted countless times, but never with sensibilities like Ritchie's. The premise will be taken from an upcoming comic written by Lionel Wigram and promises to be more "adventuresome and less stuffy than previous screen incarnations and mines on more obscure character traits." So is this going to be a richer, morally maligned Holmes?

Ritchie's ability to craft an inventory of colorful opportunists and their eventual collision is simply brilliant. Snatch remains unparalleled. Part of the filmmaker's appeal is the absence of a clear "good guy". Everyone is dirty, so it's great fun watching the characters try to one up another. Since they're all debased, it doesn't really matter who comes out on top. Ritchie's upcoming RocknRolla appears to follow that formula pretty well. So what's with flipping sides and taking on a character that most would consider on the right side of the law? I think the answer is in the idea that Wigram's comic, and therefore Ritchie's adaptation, will highlight the less-than-well-known traits of Holmes.

Sherlock HolmesSuch as the character's drug use, specifically cocaine and morphine. Admittedly, I've never been an avid follower of the Sherlock Holmes character -- my closest acquaintance is the frequent retort my mother used growing up, "No shit, Sherlock!" However, apparently Holmes once said to Watson, "I find it [the drugs]… so transcendentally stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action [whatever damage it might be doing] is a matter of small moment… I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation." Obviously way back when, drugs considered highly illegal today were used for more conventional purposes. And even though Ritchie's adaptation will not be a period piece, I can imagine the director drawing on darker historical nuggets such as this to create a character that aligns more with his tastes. What would a Ritchie flick be without dancing on the line of good and bad?

Interestingly, Ritchie is on a bit of streak nowadays, which is surprising given his last effort Revolver. That film was a cerebral mess, which made me almost loose faith in the director and changed my view of Ray Liotta forever - seeing the guy running around in his underwear, crying with a gun amidst blacklights is just disturbing. Whereas Ritchie's previous films had many years between them, RocknRolla is due out in October of this year (and rumored to be a trilogy), Holmes is intended for 2010, and Ritchie is rumored to take on a Sgt. Rock adaptation eventually as well.

I definitely hope my faith is restored come October, and I can't wait for more details on what Sherlock Holmes might look like through the lens of Ritchie. Are you equally excited or perplexed?

Find more posts in Movie News, Opinions

Discover more around the web:

  • Alfredo
    So is this going to be a "re-imagining" in the sense that it's brought to modern times or in the sense that the character will be explored from a different point of view? I personally wouldn't think a modern British investigator pretending to be Sherlock Holmes would be all that fun.
  • I for some reason was never a Sherlock fan but always wanted to see a movie on it. I am hoping it will be a 1870's noir type thing though.
  • Will this be the worst movie ever made? No. Will it be close? Probably
  • Why do you state that the film is a "modern, updated take" and "not a period piece"? The Variety article doesn't say anything of the sort. It seems to me that the big difference is they will be upping the action quotient a bit. The earlier Variety article ( about this same project mentions that they're working closely with the Conan Doyle estate, too, so a "modern" take seems very unlikely.
  • good point, Gordon. I was so taken aback by Ritchie tackling the Holmes character, I jumped the gun and thought it would obviously be a modern-day representation (since many ventures of this sort seem to be). if not, that's a whole 'nother story. will certainly be watching for more details, since there's no definitive word yet
  • Julia
    I'm surprisingly interested in this film. Loved the Holmes stories as a kid and a "grittier" update sounds fabulous to me.
  • avoidz
    I thought David Shore's House, M.D. with Hugh Laurie is the modern adaption of the Sherlock Holmes mythology. :)
  • tjr
    Madonna’s Marriage Mess
  • A Baker Irregular
    I have always been a fan of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and from what I read, this movie will be a flop on the acting of Holme's part. He doesn't need to be twisted in a way that he'll appeal to the modern audience, if someone should like his character, they need to get to know the 'real' Holmes. However, I haven't seen the film and it may turn out to be a decent movie, but of course it won't be the best.




Alex's Top 10 - 2016
1. La La Land
2. Paterson
3. Arrival
4. Captain Fantastic
5. 20th Cent. Women
6. Pete's Dragon
7. Jackie
8. Kubo & Two Strings
9. Everybody Wants
10. Wilderpeople
Click Here for Thoughts

Jeremy's Top 10 - 2016
1. Moonlight
2. The Handmaiden
3. High-Rise
4. Elle
5. Arrival
6. Kubo & Two Strings
7. 13th
8. Jackie
9. Toni Erdmann
10. The Witch
Click Here for Thoughts


Subscribe to our feed or daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main profile on twitter:
For the news posts only, follow this acct:
Add our feed to your Feedly: follow us in feedly