It’s snappy, it’s fast, it’s like being in Sherlock’s head. The camera is constantly moving, like Sherlock, it wants to capture every detail. And there is a lot of detail on these elaborate sets. We’re constantly being zoomed in and out. Closing up on tiny but significant clues. This helps you follow the movie, always being on the same page as Sherlock, but Sherlock’s page is a purposefully confusing place to be.
The camera often pans round, allowing you to see the whole scene. These scenes are full, they’re loaded. There’s a number of way in which depth is added…
Having items in the foreground so that there are obvious levels to the scene.
Having the characters staggered at different depths. In this scene they’ve got the mid-depth character in focus.
Having very dramatic contrast between light and shadow.
Use of linear perspective (having the size of an object draw outwards towards a horizon).
Having sources of light in the background to draw your eyes towards the back of the scene. And also having light sources on different levels.
Having open doors and passageways at the pack of a set so that it looks ongoing.
There’s a consistent level of detail to absorb throughout the film. Guy Richie manages to add even more confusion and madness with his ‘Holmes-vision’. These moments when time slows as we see Sherlock mentally playing out a situation in theory could be moments a calm. But instead, as time slows down, the camera movement picks up. There are constant switches of angles that change in a flash so that it doesn’t actually feel like we’re loosing any pace at all.