The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Holmes is a name that almost anyone should be able to recognize, with the classic Arthur Conan Doyle literature and the numerous modern day film and television series starring the sociopathic genius that is Sherlock Holmes. However Netflix's Enola Holmes is not his story to tell, but his sister's. With a new Holmes at the forefront of the film's central focus, could this film stand on its own, or become a failed attempt to explore a more feminine type of Holmes in the vain of Nancy Drew?
Fleabag director Harry Bradbeer returns to the director's chair for his first feature film in nearly a decade. With numerous tricks up his sleeve, Enola Holmes breaks the fourth wall constantly, and it fluctuates from charming to downright distracting as the story progresses. There's action thrown in half hazardly near the midway mark and lacks the pizazz that other Holmes films brought to the table, namely Guy Ritchie's features. No matter how hard Bradbeer tries, Enola Holmes doesn't reflect what makes a Sherlock Holmes film so mesmerizing to watch. The main attraction for many, Sherlock and Mycroft, are reduced to side characters, but it's the lack of finesse to the screenplay and direction that makes for an experience not worth the two hour runtime.
Based on a series of novels, Enola Holmes hopes to be a kickoff to an even grander franchise, but with little knowledge of the source material, this first entry (possibly only) differs from almost everything I've come to know about Sherlock Holmes through numerous other mediums. Enola Holmes consists of two individual mysteries intertwined to create a very convoluted adventure met with multiple lackluster conclusions. If a mystery film balances more heavily on the characters than the creative nature of the mysteries, then the characters better be something unforgettable, and that's just not the case here.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Unfamiliar with the Enola Holmes book series and its iteration of the classic characters, there are some stark differences that may throw fans of previous Holmes inspired adaptations for a loop. Fans of the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle may leave unhappy with the form that Sherlock and Mycroft take in the adaptation of author Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes. Sam Claflin's Mycroft can be passed over as he is similarly aggressive in prior movies and television series, it's just heightened to an entirely new level here. Sherlock however, played by Henry Cavill, is not the Sherlock we all know and love. He's not a sociopath, and he's not a flat out arrogant person that won't take responsibility for his actions; this Sherlock Holmes is agreeable and conversational, and it takes some adjustment to become accustomed to. Cavill and Claflin do a fine job here, but they're both not the characters we've grown up with. What saves the film is it's titular lead Enola Holmes, and even though her character wavers between different interest levels due to the action she is taking part in at any particular moment, Millie Bobby Brown embodies this character. Every other character surrounding her is lost in the commotion or forgotten somewhere along the way, so it's best to give Brown her credit and move on from the film's misused cast.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Holmes In The Vain Of Nancy Drew?
Visually the film was well planned, with many real sets taking up the screen. The costume design was fluent with the settings established and built some of the characters' lacking development up slightly more so with their wardrobe attire. The sudden use of CGI in action based scenes and backdrops during the use of traditional sets felt incredibly jarring with many of these unrealistic backdrops taking the viewer's focus away from the central happenings occuring on screen.
Enola Holmes (2020) | NETFLIX
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score for Enola Holmes was acceptable for a generic action adventure, but for a film based around the idea of the Holmes legacy, I'd expect something much more grand. With the likes of Hans Zimmer perfecting the Sherlock Holmes score previously, there was hardly a chance that any composer could outdo the work that had come before. When you think of a musical undertone for the likes of Sherlock Holmes and everyone else in his vicinity, Zimmer's score is unmatched.
Enola Holmes pulls in a prominent lead performance by Millie Bobby Brown but it's messy plot and lack of emotional draw makes this lengthy runtime a forgettable case.