Mr. Holmes is the latest film concerning the famous detective and is directed by Bill Condon, who made Gods and Monsters and Kinsey. It stars Ian McKellen as Holmes, Laura Linney and Milo Parker.
The film opens on a train with a woman commenting on a bee. Holmes, who is sharing the same carriage, interrupts her saying it is a wasp not a bee and thus the wheels of the story are set in motion. The movie is set in 1947 and Holmes is now ninety-three years old. Watson is dead and so is his brother Mycroft. Holmes has also become quite famous as a result of Watson’s books concerning his exploits as a detective. He lives with his housekeeper Ms. Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker).
At ninety-three he is beginning to lose his memory and cannot recall certain details, such as people’s names. The story flashes back to a trip he took to Japan, where he was hoping to acquire a rare plant called ‘Prickly Ash’. He hopes this will slow the symptoms of his condition. However, all is not as it seems. We also learn the plot of the book he is working on, which concerns a man and his unhappy wife. Bees also play a large part in the story, as Holmes is schooling Roger on the subject.
This film is nothing like Guy Ritchie’s depiction of Sherlock Holmes, which should be blatantly obvious from the first minute of the movie. Holmes is old, slow and just a little curmudgeonly. Anyone who was expecting anything different should probably look elsewhere.
Mr. Holmes looks fantastic and offers great views of the resplendent British countryside. We also get to see a little bit of Japan too. The cinematography is so good in fact, that I can see it being nominated at the Oscars next year. The soundtrack is also suitably moody and fits the film nicely.
The acting in this picture was quite good, but I was expecting a bit more from Ian McKellen. He never seems to get going and didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. Laura Linney was good, but again I was left wanting more. The star of the film for me was Milo Parker, who plays Roger. I usually cringe whenever a child actor is onscreen, but Parker was a revelation. I can definitely see him becoming a star in the future.
This wasn’t a bad film overall, but the only thing that will last in my memory is the cinematography. It was a nice film to see in the cinema but I won’t be waiting feverishly for its release on DVD. Maybe if all concerned had tried a little harder I might be writing something different. The script in particular was a little limp and the important plot points could have been done better. Three out of five.