Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Original Release: December 16, 2011 (United States)
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Written by: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Produced by: Susan Downey, Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram
Running Time: 129 minutes
Box Office: N/A

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) match wits with their arch-nemesis, the criminal genius Moriarty (Jared Harris), who is not only intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil. Mixing business with pleasure, Holmes encounters Madame Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace), a Gypsy fortune teller, who sees more than she is telling. Holmes barely manages to save her life and, in return, she reluctantly agrees to help him.
Cast & Characters
Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Jude Law (John Watson), Noomi Rapace (Simza Heron), Rachel McAdams (Irene Adler), Jared Harris (James Moriarty), Stephen Fry (Mycroft Holmes), Paul Anderson (Colonel Sebastian Moran), Kelly Reilly (Mary Watson), Geraldine James (Mrs. Hudson), Eddie Marsan (Lestrade)
Photo Gallery
Production Notes
After the worldwide success of the 2009 first film, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" brings the legendary detective back to the big screen for a second action-packed mystery. Director Guy Ritchie says, "I was very keen to return to Sherlock Holmes’ world because the experience of making the first movie was so positive, both personally and creatively. There were a myriad of story possibilities in revisiting this character because he has so many interesting facets." Ritchie’s "Sherlock Holmes" had redefined Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic character for a new generation, with Robert Downey Jr. creating his own unique incarnation of the role, which won him a Golden Globe award, alongside Jude Law as Holmes’ friend, partner, and occasional foil, Dr. John Watson. "First and foremost," Downey Jr. says, "we wanted to maintain the visceral tone that was part of Guy’s original vision, while presenting Holmes with an even more difficult case, one that would challenge his considerable skills." That challenge arises out of the threat from a redoubtable adversary, one whose name is familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes canon: Professor James Moriarty.

To write the screenplay, the producers enlisted husband-and-wife writing team Kieran and Michele Mulroney, with the latter being exceptionally well-versed in the source material. She offers, "Growing up in England, I remember reading the books and being awed by the weird and wonderful way Holmes’ mind worked. It was a joy to revisit the original stories and still marvel at the inventiveness and intricacies of Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries." In fact, true Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts will notice that the filmmakers paid homage to the author by incorporating some of Conan Doyle’s language in the dialogue. "I was thrilled that the connection between Holmes and Watson, as we had developed it, was still very much the heart and soul of the story," says Jude Law, who returns in the role of Watson. "Robert and Jude are extremely talented actors who love what they do, and they are also good mates," adds Ritchie. "Having those ingredients brought a great energy to the set and made all our jobs much easier." Apart from bringing Sherlock's archenemy Moriarty to the story, "A Game of Shadows" also introduces contemporary film audiences to another character well known to readers of the original stories - Sherlock’s older and far more urbane brother, Mycroft Holmes, played by Stephen Fry. Rachel McAdams, who won praise for her performance in the first film, briefly returns as well. But in this second installment, another woman becomes what Downey calls "the lynchpin to unraveling the case."

Noomi felt fresh, she felt driven, she’s passionate and ambitious, in all the right ways. She’s kind of a tour-de-force in her own right. As soon as I met her, I knew she would be right for the job. I think we all saw "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" about the same time, and there was an unconscious, collective agreement by the time we got on the phone about Noomi. And after a very short meeting with Noomi, our desires were confirmed and we pretty much wanted Noomi. She ticked all the boxes. And she took it pretty seriously. She had all the prerequisites, and it wasn’t a tricky decision. (Guy Ritchie)
The role of Sim marks the first English-speaking part for Noomi Rapace, who says that the nomadic lifestyle of a Gypsy and the attitudes of the time have combined to make Sim tough. "She’s forever on the move and wherever she goes, she’s not treated very well, so she’s had to learn to defend herself. Her people are used to surviving under extreme circumstances and living on the edge, usually in places where they’re not welcome. Sim has seen the darker side of humanity and, in that way, she has something in common with Holmes." "Noomi was incredible... not only a wonderful actress but a lovely person," producer Joel Silver says. "She’s in most of the movie alongside Robert and Jude and really had to hold her own with them, and she was amazing." The fight scenes were not confined to the men, which is something Rapace welcomed. "Sim is a street fighter. She can punch and kick and she’s very good with knives, but when she’s thrown into a situation, she’ll grab whatever is close at hand. She’s scrappy. I like that," she says, remembering the thrilling action sequence that unfolds at the gentleman’s club. In designing Sim’s costume, Jenny Beavan took into consideration the character’s physicality, as well as her Gypsy heritage. Beavan observes, "Sim would not tolerate the confines of Victorian fashion; I wanted her clothes to have a sense of freedom. I found a great picture in Harper’s Bazaar of a woman in the 1890s hunting in what would have been a very short skirt for the time, and I thought it would be perfect for her."

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" was met with positive reviews, although the majority felt it lacked the same drive as its predecessor. The New York Times wrote, that the film "confects a smoky, overcast Victorian world, infuses it with an air of jocular, hairy laddishness and stages a lot of fights in fussy and tiresome slow motion. There is a plot, but no real intrigue, mystery or suspense, and no inkling of anything at stake beyond a childish and belligerent idea of fun". Roger Ebert was more positive in his recommendation. "The thing to do, I suppose, is to set aside your memories of the Conan Doyle stories, save them to savor on a night this winter and enjoy this movie as a high-caliber entertainment. "A Game of Shadows" was solid at the box office as well, making $ 186 million in domestic.