A sexy Sherlock Holmes? The famous sleuth’s rather stodgy reputation gets a big boost, as does USA, with the slick and sophisticated original movie “Case of Evil.”
Directed by Graham Theakston, pic follows the basic tenets of the Holmes mythology but adds a few eyebrow-raising elements — not to mention a good-looking young star — to stir some excitement into a well-worn concept.
With “Evil,” we see the impetus for Sherlock Holmes’ trademark look and methods of deduction. But writer Piers Ashworth cleverly addresses several myths surrounding the gumshoe, including drug addiction and sexual preference, and turns all preconceived notions upside down.
James D’Arcy stars as the 28-year-old Holmes, a foppish and self-involved detective who has innate talent but not the maturity nor the experience to be as good as he thinks. At least not yet.
After a very public and seemingly victorious battle in which it appears he killed his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty (Vincent D’Onofrio), Holmes is awash in newfound celebrity.
He attracts the attention of the ladies as well as the ire of the local police, who see him as a publicity seeker and thrill hound. The local authorities are reluctant to include Holmes in the latest investigation of a string of murders involving several opium merchants. Still primed from his battle with Moriarty, Holmes is sure he knows the identity of the killer, and is more than willing to showcase his impressive methods of deduction for the police and the press.
When Holmes’ No. 1 suspect is also found dead, he has to rethink the case and enlists the help of coroner Dr. Watson (Roger Morlidge) to solve the murders.
Playing both the ladies man and the no-nonsense investigator, D’Arcy makes a convincing Holmes on both accounts. He gives Holmes the passion and drive he needs for such intense devotion to crime solving, but also the emotional weaknesses that plague him.
This Holmes is fallible, especially when he is living in the shadow of his intellectually superior but physically disabled brother Mycroft (Richard E. Grant in a small but crucial role). Holmes never seems more vulnerable then when he believes he’s failed his older brother.
D’Onofrio captures the massive ego and appetites of Moriarty, a pompous but ingenious criminal. Although his English accent is a little questionable, he offers such an intimidating physical presence.
Theakston capitalizes on the current crime-solving zeitgeist spurred by the popularity of “CSI” types and gives viewers the same kind of thrills, only with an old-fashioned twist.
Special effects coordinator Daniel Parvulescu has fun on all accounts, creating realistic props as well as a rich, atmospheric London set.