Robert Downey, Jr. – Times Two!

No, I did not have the great fortune to see two Robert Downey, Jr. movies in the same day. However, I did see Sherlock Holmes and The Soloist within a few days of each other, and I was highly entertained and very impressed with both. Reviews below!

Sherlock Holmes

Exciting, engaging, witty, and charming – I loved this vision of Sherlock Holmes! I’ll admit, I wasn’t ready to have my perceptions challenged. But I at least had the opportunity prior to the film to look into how Arthur Conan Doyle actually wrote Holmes, and found that this character really was different than how I’d originally imagined him. Sure, this film took a few liberties, but it’s nice to rock the boat now and again.

That said, I think this role was made for Robert Downey, Jr., and he plays it well. Very well. Brilliantly, in fact. My only complaint was that some of the lines came so quickly that with his (albeit charming) accent, they weren’t easily understood. I’m not sure what I expected from Jude Law’s Holmes; most of the facets were there, but something was missing. Perhaps he was just a bit too standoffish in parts? Could have done without quite so much facade? Might it have been too soon to introduce the fianceé? Or maybe I’m just annoyed at him over Repo Men.

I’m not sure I was interested in as many fight scenes as were present, and I wish Holmes’ deductions that actually moved the plot forward had been as visually memorable as those fight scenes. But the story was compelling, the climax was wonderful, and it’s a movie I would definitely watch again.

Love Sherlock Holmes? Buy the novels or pre-order the DVD on Amazon.com!

The Soloist

This is a movie that some people won’t enjoy, mainly because it’s not plot-driven. This movie is a two-hour character sketch, a window into some of the unknowable workings of the human mind, played brilliantly by a most unexpected source. I know I originally placed this review next to Sherlock Holmes as a Robert Downey, Jr. commentary, and he is really quite good in this film. But I must comment on how brilliantly Jamie Foxx played the title role here. I remember even watching the trailers I felt a little more than surprised–could they really have cast such a raunchy comedian in a role like this? (And yes, this where I admit that I have not yet seen him in the Ray Charles biopic. My fault entirely, and I’m going to have to remedy this situation soon.) But I am a firm believer in giving credit where it is due, particularly where I have been guilty of selling someone short, and Jamie Foxx is completely and utterly brilliant in what can only have been a profoundly difficult role to play.

What to say about the story? Not a lot, really. It is less about action and more about reaction. It’s the growth and development of an unusual relationship, with smatterings of the expected social commentary. If you’re a reader of the “human interest” stories in the paper, you’ll better appreciate the tone of this film. Does it have the shiny happy Hollywood-style warm fuzzy ending? No, although it ends as well as it can. Could this be why it was passed over when the Oscar nominations were handed out? I can’t think of a sane reason why that happened. In short, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you absolutely must.

Get the book that inspired the movie, or buy the DVD, at my Amazon.com aStore!

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3 thoughts on “Robert Downey, Jr. – Times Two!

  1. Great reviews! I’ll admit I skipped over the Sherlock Holmes review simply because I haven’t seen it yet. The Soloist isn’t very action driven, you’re right, but the relationship between Downey Jr. & Foxx is kind of beautiful. Regardless of the intentions going in, the friendship that emerges is once in a lifetime. Foxx was fantastic in this role!

    • I agree! It’s so nice to see such unconventional friendships in films, and it was infuriating that The Soloist didn’t get the studio support it deserved. I can honestly say I’ve never been more impressed by Jamie Foxx than in this role.

  2. Pingback: Death Defying Acts « Exploring the Magic of Movies

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