The pacing structure of the new Netflix film Enola Holmes certainly will remind you of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes franchise. The fast-paced cuts into establishing the title protagonist have that absorbing energy. Then it goes deep into the core part of the story and over the course of events, it regains that initial momentum. With Millie Bobby Brown stealing the show with her lively performance, there is that likable charm around this movie.
Enola Holmes, the sister of Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes is our main protagonist. She is now 16 years old and all her life she lived with her mother Eudoria Holmes who homeschooled her in almost everything. One fine day Enola finds out that her mother was gone, and she seeks the help of her brothers. But sadly Mycroft was more interested in sending Enola to a finishing school rather than finding Eudoria. So Enola flees from the spot in her own quest to find her mother and the movie shows us that eventful journey.
The movie is obviously placed as the first of many more to come. The plan is to show us a female version of the Sherlock Holmes style of investigation. We even get to see that Sherlock style slow motion zooming-in revisit of a five seconds scene where Enola tries to remember all the possible clues. Enola Holmes in a way is what if there was an origin story to Sherlock Holmes. In the Guy Ritchie universe, he is already that established detective. Here, because it’s a fresh character and the character itself has no clarity on personal aspirations, Harry Bradbeer’s version of Enola Holmes takes us to the development of a detective almost from the scratch. Somewhere in the middle when Enola deviates from her primary aim to do something different, I kind of felt the writing was deliberately taking a detour to create some set pieces. But the backdrop of the Reform Act gets used smartly to connect all the dots in the screenplay.
Harry Bradbeer approaches the movie in that fast-paced style. We get rhythmic cuts and fourth wall breaking sequences in abundance in the first 10 or 15 minutes. Writer Jack Thorne then gets into the serious story. There are a lot of events happening here over the course of a seemingly small amount of time. We get to see Enola trying to cope with an outer world she has no idea about, we see her doing some disguise to solve a case, cracking codes to find her mother and there are a few more events that I don’t wish to disclose as it may become a spoiler for you. The movie does feel a bit sluggish when it enters all these subplots. But eventually when all of it gets linked together towards the end, Harry Bradbeer and his editor Adam Bosman are able to bring back that foot-tapping rhythm into the way the story is narrated. Unlike the RDJ franchise that had stylized cinematography as a tool for pace, here it was more through the cuts. The music also contributed to creating that energy.
Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is undeniably the soul of this movie. There is a level of curiosity, perseverance, and smartness to this 16-year-old character and she captures those qualities with ease and excitement. This movie is also trying to show us how a homeschooled Enola Holmes became that smart girl who learned to live on her own in a chaotic city space like London. In that aspect also Brown does a really convincing job. Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the calmer and caring version of the character I have seen. They have attributed the Sherlock level eccentricity to Enola here. Sam Claflin plays the role of the extremely orthodox and adamant Mycroft Holmes neatly. Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes was perfect and Louis Partridge did the part of the love interest Lord Viscount Tewksbury in a pleasing way.
Enola Holmes became a Netflix release only because of the pandemic. Out of the many releases I have seen during these testing times, this was one film I wished I could have experienced on the big screen. The grandeur, energy, and the music kind of had that visually engaging feel to it. With an impressive narrative tempo and a charming performance from the leading lady, Enola Holmes is a highly entertaining experience.
With an impressive narrative tempo and a charming performance from the leading lady, Enola Holmes is a highly entertaining experience.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended