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Mr. Holmes

Coming Soon

The stories of Sherlock Holmes have been told over and over again. Whether it’s through novels, movies or television shows, his character is one of great lore. In 2005 an American novelist by the name of Mitch Cullin wrote a novel called A Slight Trick of the Mind. In 2013 it was announced that his work would be turned in movie directed by Bill Condon. Simply titled Mr. Holmes tells the story of a much older version of Sherlock Holmes long after his days of brilliant detective work are behind him. Instead this story focuses on the mortality of a man who, at times, is a mere shell of the person once was while suffering from age appropriate ailments. But, even so, Sherlock’s mind has not totally left him and he is desperate to hold onto what he still has. Putting his mind to work on something that has been troubling him for years may be just what he needs to feel useful again.
Mr. Holmes stars Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes. He also plays a “younger” version of himself as he mentally revisits the last case he ever worked on as a detective. Taking care of his home as well as acting as his unofficial caregiver is Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) as is her young son, Roger (Milo Parker). Sherlock fits the bill perfectly as the grumpy old man and, because of this, he is just all kinds of miserable to be around. Sherlock develops a special bond with the young boy, Robert. The boy’s natural curiosity of Sherlock’s work allows them to feed off of one another with each providing the other with something they need in their lives.
There’s no other way to put it other than to say that the plot development is extremely slow and deliberate. Due to this approach expectations need to be modified for more of a slow burn approach. Even though there are only a handful of characters involved in the main plot there’s much information to cover. The confusing part is that much of this is seen through the eyes of Sherlock and, since all his mental faculties are greatly diminished, the actual facts of what’s real and what isn’t are hard to follow at times. This is the way the story is designed so it’s all part of the plan. With that being said it’s very easy to mentally check-out of Mr. Holmes allowing interest to wane.
Ian McKellen gives a good performance as basically a one person act. The makeup work makes him easily appear almost 20 years older. It looks authentic in every way, from his thinning white hair to the liver spots that littered his frail tired body. The quagmire with Mr Holmes is that it isn’t as if the movie is poorly directed, written or acted. It’s more of a specialty subject that only a minority of the audiences will truly appreciate. We tend to enjoy these types of characters in their prime and this version of Sherlock is well beyond. If you’re more of a Robert Downey, Jr.’s Sherlock lover then you might want to steer clear of this version all together. Mr. Holmes is bland by design but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
Mr. Holmes is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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