Wednesday, July 22, 2015

[Review] Mr. Holmes

There have been many incarnations of Sherlock Homes on big screens and small screens, and I'm not going to waste time going through them all. Instead, let's jump right into the change of pace that is Mr. Holmes--the retired version, played masterfully by Sir Ian McKellen.

After a journey in Japan, a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) returns to his seaside farmhouse, which is occupied by the housekeeper Ms. Munro (Laura Linney) and her son Roger (Milo Parker, who is really good here). Holmes has been out of the detective game for a while. He's hunched, weakened, and a bit bumbling when he speaks. But a few of his clever observations lets us know that he's still got it, for the most part at least. His memory isn't serving him so well at certain times. But he keeps busy with his beekeeping, and he's also writing a story based on a solved, yet unsettled case, which is conveyed through flashbacks.

Now, there isn't a gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery here, but that isn't really the point. It's more relaxed and reflective in tone, pinpointing exactly why Holmes is so haunted by this case. The film is beautifully shot, and the period detail is on-point. It probably comes as no surprise that Ian McKellen's performance is what carries it all, even during the slower stretches and dragging ending. It's an Oscar nomination worthy turn, but it will probably be forgotten by the time the Fall/Winter seasons blow in. Plus, people simply expect excellence from Ian McKellen, so it probably isn't going to stun anyone.


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