Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Sherlock Holmes is by far one of the most popular fictional characters in human history. We have all seen or read at least one version of him, whether it would be Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's original works or the most recent versions played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. We've seen classic Victorian Sherlock, we've seen modern tech-savvy Sherlock, and we've even seen Sherlock in America. But this year's Mr. Holmes is a wholly original take on the character.
Mr. Holmes stars Sir Ian McKellen as Detective Sherlock Holmes. He plays a 93-year-old retired version of the character that is dealing with an early form of dementia. He is trying to recall the solution to his final case and why exactly was it his last one. Meanwhile, he meets a young boy who is a very big fan of his. This young boy learns various things from Mr. Holmes, but surprisingly enough this great detective even learns a thing or two from this boy. So does this film do justice to the wonder that is Sherlock Holmes? Here's my opinion...
Mr. Holmes may not be your traditional Sherlock Holmes story, but it's undoubtedly one you should watch. If you need just one reason, it would be Sir Ian McKellen's performance as the great detective. There isn't any other person better suited to play an old Sherlock Holmes than Gandalf himself. He was amazing! He was able to so equally portray the wittiness and pride of his younger self, and the frailty and self-independence of a man who yearns for a time long passed.
Milo Parker starred opposite McKellen as the young man Roger. Usually, children in films like this aren't the best. They never seem to be able to present the same amount of energy as their co-stars. Parker, however, was great in this film. His character could have very easily become a googly-eyed kid who gets to learn from his hero. But that's not who he was. Sure, he did look up to McKellen's Sherlock, but Roger did have his own moments too. They made him realistic by letting him say things without thinking about them first, and by having him become a little impatient with this old man at times.
No film is perfect, though. There were things in this film that could have been explained a little bit better. There are times that they seem to skim over something that will become a major plot device down the road. Also, Roger's mother (played by Laura Linney) did get a little annoying at times. She would get so frustrated with this old man for understandable reasons, but she would take them a little too much to heart. Some of the things she does come off as just cruel and unreasonable, which didn't feel like what her character should have been.
One thing that this movie could have very easily became was a "Before-and-After" picture involving young and old characters from the stories. The decision made to almost completely reduce every major Sherlock Holmes character's part down to a simple mention in conversation was the part that set itself apart from other Sherlock projects. It was also the best decision the screenwriters made with this film. Mr. Holmes could have very easily become crowded with elderly versions of characters we all know. Keeping the focus on Sherlock, and Sherlock alone was what really made the film great. It was a very intriguing character study.
Be aware, if you are accustomed to the thrill-seeking, chase-loving, all-knowing Sherlock Holmes than this movie might not be for you. That is not what this film is. It has a very slow burn, and it's almost entirely dialogue. There wasn't a single action scene in this movie. Which is what made it such a great look at the character of Sherlock Holmes. I enjoyed this movie immensely. It was nice to get a drastically different look at the character that has recently found popularity again with stars like Robert Downey Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch.
What do you think about Mr. Holmes? Did you enjoy this take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook or Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and editorials.
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