Film Review: Not A Sherlock But A Mr. Holmes (2015)

The new addition to the Sherlock Holmes BBC franchise is not what one might expect.   Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock, is based on the novel, A Slight Trick of The Mind by Mitch Cullin. The movie is directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2) and also stars Laura Linney as Holmes’ housekeeper Mrs. Munro.

Mr. Holmes is set in 1947 and follows a 93 year-old Sherlock Holmes as he tries to recall a thirty-five year old case that is disappearing from his memory. The case is of great significance because it was Holmes’ last assignment and his reason for leaving Baker Street and retiring to Sussex. Watson is absent from this story but his shoes are filled by young Roger Munro (Milo Parker) the housekeeper’s son. Roger seeks mentorship from Holmes and helps him to recall his forgotten memory. McKellen and Linney are perfectly cast along side one another. Their interaction as housekeeper and aging employer is enjoyable to watch.

The film explores the concept of loneliness and its impact on the individual following World War II. Each character is faced with loss and subsequent loneliness. For Holmes the loss is related to his memory while for Mrs. Munro the loss is due to the death of her husband in the war.

Mr. Holmes is primarily set in Sussex and the cinematography beautifully captures post-World War II rural British life.   For some, the pace of the film may be too slow. There are no elaborate chase scenes and no mortal combat or large explosions in this movie. But for avid Sherlock Holmes fans this is an opportunity to see a great actor (McKellan) portray the more vulnerable side of an iconic character. A must see for Sherlock enthusiasts.

Mr. Holmes was released in U.S. theaters on July 17th, 2015.

View the official trailer here:

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