Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes is Brokeback Mountain without the sex and depth of emotion, the story of two thrill-seekers who would rather be with each other than just about anywhere else.
Neither acknowledges it explicitly, perhaps because doing so would push Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic investigators too far down a road Ritchie was reluctant to travel. But between Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) there exists a bond that supersedes ordinary friendship, an affection conveyed in knowing glances and in the subtext of their droll repartee.
When we’re young, we are told to stand up to bullies, to defend ourselves against those who prey on the supposedly weak. They are the real cowards, we are told, and once exposed, their true colors will be revealed.
The British criminal Charles Bronson, the subject of director Nicolas Winding Refn’s strangely fascinating but somewhat impenetrable new character study, isn’t a bully in the conventional sense. He doesn’t taunt his victims; he simply pulverizes them, sometimes with warning, sometimes without. He is remorseless, but hardly emotionless – a study in unadulterated rage, and not a man to provoke or engage.