by Aaron Peck
This week's big release is 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'. Since we've already done a Top 5 / Bottom 5 article for Robert Downey, Jr. I thought this would be a good time to find out how I'd rank Guy Ritchie's feature-length films (seven total).
Ritchie has solidified a sort of hyper-stylized world as his directorial vision. His movies tend to give way to insane bouts of action coupled with even crazier bands of characters. Usually when you go into a Ritchie film you expect your dialogue to be fast and the editing to be even faster. Below I've ranked Ritchie's films from worst to first. See if my rankings match yours.
7. 'Swept Away'
Okay, everyone saw this coming right? There's no way anyone in their right mind would put 'Swept Away' anywhere on this list but here. At the bottom (er, top?), where this turd belongs. Despite his penchant for directing tough-guy, mobster-centric dark comedies, here Ritchie took on a job that screamed, "My wife made me do it." Watching Madonna in this was an excruciating way to spend 90 minutes.
I know there are people out there who really like this movie, but honestly it's far too muddled to be likable. There's nothing worse than a movie that thinks it's really smart, but instead comes across as stupidly asinine. Besides the incoherent plot, the pseudo-intellectual dialogue really drove me nuts in this movie.
5. 'Sherlock Holmes'
Now we're getting into the better movies of Ritchie's filmography. Just to be clear, there is a very steep drop off from the fifth spot occupied by 'Sherlock Holmes' and the sixth spot occupied by 'Revolver.' From here on out the movies, in my mind, are very close to each other in quality, ranging from good to great. The first 'Sherlock Holmes' was fun. I never really cared much for Ritchie's re-imagining of Holmes as some sort of old-timey action hero, but with his super-stylized style it seemed to work. Robert Downey, Jr. provided most of the believability though.
4. 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'
For me, the sequel was a bit better than the original, but I'm sure there are people that would switch these two around on the list. They're pretty interchangeable to tell the truth. If you've seen 'Sherlock Holmes' you've pretty much seen 'A Game of Shadows,' except the sequel has much more action of which I guess I was in the mood for when I first watched it. The Ritchie Holmesfilms will never come close to matching the brilliant re-imagining that the BBC has done for the character, but they're pretty fun.
If we journey back in time a few years you'll see that 'RocknRolla' was actually my very first review for High-Def Digest. I still think that it's an extremely fun, inventive movie that caught me off guard. I was expecting a rehash of 'Snatch's style with a slightly different story. What I got was a movie chock full of characters I ended up caring about and a zany, pin-balling story that kept me interested.
2. 'Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels'
It was his directorial debut, and while his ensemble gangster style seemed to bump up rather closely to Quentin Tarantino's I still came away thinking 'Lock, Stock' was something fairly fresh and unique. Unlike 'Revolver' the dialogue, while smart, didn't seem so desperate. It had a sort of frenzied pace that made it feel that way to me.
'Snatch' has become somewhat of a classic. It's one of those titles that you simply must have in your collection. Yes, the movie with its gangster mentality and its litany of madcap characters seemed to mirror 'Lock, Stock,' but with an even better cast behind it the movie gained a lot of steam. It had fun with itself. It had fun with its actors. It's still one of the most enjoyable mobster movies out there.
So there's our list. How does it stack up with yours? Where would you rank the two 'Sherlock Holmes' movies? Would you interchange them or move them drastically up or down the list? We'd love to know how you'd rank Ritchie's filmography, so please let us know in the forums by following the link below.