Guy Ritchie’s true subject has always been London; the moneyed, brutish boxer’s fist that knuckles the Thames. London, that city of thieves, scoundrels and massively over-priced hotels, where the air turns your snot black and the weather drives a shiv into your bones. Like New York, but without the iconic silhouette, London is known more for its streets than its skyscrapers: Downing Street, Fleet Street; Carnaby Street. Even London’s most famous detective has a famous address: 221b Baker Street, home of Sherlock Holmes. In Guy Ritchie’s new movie, the cerebral sleuth returns to a city rank with wrongdoing. London’s tourists will know it well.
Anthony Minghella was Britain’s best director. Bar none. Don’t come to me with your Mike Leighs, your Ken Loachs. British cinema, as I’ve said in the past, is bloody miserable for the most part. Our celebrated directors make movies only a paltry number actually watch… full of drab minutiae, dampened hopes… Timothy Spall. I know there are those who thought Minghella made chocolate-box movies, that his every shot screamed bourgeois. But to his critics I say: bite me. Who else makes such movies? Good movies based on literature are, as Dr. Johnson said: “Like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”