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Review - Mr. Holmes

By midlandsmovies, Dec 16 2015 09:03AM

Mr. Holmes (2015) Dir. Bill Condon

UK thespian and all-round acting legend Ian McKellen stars as English literature’s most famous detective in this film based upon the retirement of an aged Sherlock Holmes. With an abundance of adaptations of the long-standing eccentric (Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller, Downey Jnr) has this film got enough of a spin to make it stand out from the (very busy) crowd? Well, in most cases yes. McKellen’s Holmes is a timeworn geriatric, long-retired from the sleuthing game and now spending peaceful days tending to his bees in the countryside. He does however have an unsolved case that’s a thorn in his side and it is this mystery that pushes the story forward.

At 93 years old, Holmes’ body is frail and his mind unable to recollect evidence like it used to, but he still has his wits when dealing with his housekeeper Mrs Munro and her son Roger. As a substitute patriarch to the father-less Roger, Holmes imparts his bee-keeping knowledge whilst Roger prods him into remembering the details of the unfinished case (shown in flashback sequence).

Tying up the loose ends of that case and another situation involving a Far East family man, Holmes is shown as more human than the previous eclectic incarnations. This is down to a great script but also the acting talents of McKellen himself. Small ticks as the “flashback” Holmes hints on his genius whilst he personifies his decaying physical health without delivering the usual over-the-top geriatric characteristics.

The Go-Between-like relationship of Holmes and the inquisitive Roger has a happier ending than that novel and the picturesque surroundings of the locations set the time and place well. With more Bees than Jupiter Ascending and The Wicker Man remake combined, McKellen is the driving force in this peculiar but quaint English film with enough little twists to keep the audience guessing along with the great detective who does the same.


Midlands Movies Mike

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