Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Genres - Adventure, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Detective Film  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Perry Seibert

One part Sherlock Holmes and one part Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Barry Levinson's odd film gets both elements right, but fails to combine them in an interesting way. The first half of the film, detailing the introduction of the young Holmes and Watson, contains smart, atmospheric work that manages to entertain children and adults while staying as true as possible to these beloved fictional characters. Nicolas Rowe is as good a Holmes as any. He has dark, soulful eyes that betray the pain of a tortured soul. One can easily imagine him growing up to be the drug-addicted genius Doyle created. Alan Cox is a pleasure as the chubby, bespectacled Watson. He gets the best scene in the film when, after being shot with a strong hallucinogenic, the sweet-toothed Watson is attacked by a vicious group of pastries (the sequence is both scary and funny). The second half of the film turns into a Spielberg-like action film. While the effects are superb and the action is well directed, these scenes feel out of place after the witty, well-acted beginning of the film. Young Sherlock Holmes is fascinating entertainment that seems to lack enough faith in either itself or its intended audience to see its entertaining premise fully to the end. Baker Street Irregulars who stay through the credits will be rewarded with a wonderful little twist.