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Sherlock Holmes (2009 Film Analysis)

Updated: Jan 15, 2020




We know from the stories in the children’s books that Sherlock Holmes was an English detective that almost always got to the bottom of things. Most of the stories revealed what the antagonist’s plans where at the end similar to the “Scooby Doo” television show. Most mysteries are structured like this but this particular adaptation of Sherlock Holmes was impressive compared to the classic Holmes. One of the main reasons I feel that this adaptation was great was because it was fit for an audience of 2012. The unfamiliar action and martial arts this new Sherlock Holmes had traits of was used to give the film an exciting impact.


This adaptation of the book does not replicate every detail. The reason for this is because filmmakers cannot place every line from the book and translate it on the screen. It will take up a lot of time. The attention span of the average American is short, hence the fast cuts and the added martial-arts to Sherlock Holmes. If it was a French film or Italian film, this film would have probably been more slow paced with more static shots, less fighting conflicts and more emotional conflicts.




The editor had used the technique of slow motion and ramp-ups at high frame rates to further emphasize the action. It was used to make a boring man an interesting man so to speak. The “Sherlock Holmes” we were use to before the film came out was a serious and clever but without the martial arts and the LA fitness membership. Flash cuts were used in the “Mini climax” points in the film during action sequences. The reason why this was use was because the editor wanted the scene to present itself with an energy that gave a “short breath” or jarring/immediate experience. For instance, the fight scene with Sherlock Holmes in an underground ring composed of a couple flash cuts that displays some of the background extra’s facial expression.


The overall theme or look of the film had a late 1800’s style to it. The set designer had given this look because it made the Sherlock Holmes presents more believable. It gave the story some character. This theme had a lot more detail and dirt. Things weren't “perfect”. That imperfection had given the film the impression of realism. During the fight scene we clearly notice a shot of a woman that Sherlock Holmes has a liking to. She and her bright red clothing in the pale looking environment was used to emphasize her importance and femininity with in all the masculinity around her. In film and theater the color red signifies importance, danger, promiscuity and many more. It’s an attention grabber.





The color of the film had a nice crushed blacks and a desaturated look that emphasized it’s seriousness an realism. At times there would be some nicely saturated parts due to the it’s need in emphasis on a subject or character like the woman although the saturation levels don’t appear to shift too drastically.




Many symbols like the pyramid and the eye were used to give meaning to a group of characters. The pyramid and the eye was used to signify the dark. It was used for the reason that most people nowadays know that the Illuminati was a cult in Egypt that kept secrets from the church. The cult in the f