'Mr. Holmes' - Movie Review

Jul 24, 2015, 12:31 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

'Mr. Holmes'
U; Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada

With the BBC series 'Sherlock' and Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' movies already permeating the pop culture with full force at the moment, it becomes difficult to accept yet another version of the beloved character playing out in theaters. It also becomes tough to accept that Bill Condon, the guy who made the last two 'Twilight' movies is directing this film. Fortunately, 'Mr Holmes' is a surprising little entry and a pleasant diversion in the musty stock of Hollywood.

Watch the trailer of 'Mr. Holmes'

'Mr Holmes' is based on Mitch Cullin's book 'A Slight Trick of the Mind' and, in a fun turn, isn't set in Baker Street, but in the time span of Sherlock's extreme old age of 93 where he struggles to recollect the details of a very important case. In the film Holmes returns to his rural home after a jaunt to a post World War Japan. He lives with his housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her son (Milo Parker) and enjoys the simpler comforts of life, like beekeeping. Internally he's sort of conflicted, drifting from an old case where he followed a woman whose children were prematurely killed, and his life in Japan. The real case in the movie is Holmes' own existential angst that drives him forward at times and sets him back at others.

The thing with 'Mr Holmes' is that it is a film for everyone. Anyone who's ever read a Sherlock Holmes novel will find a ton of Easter eggs to appreciate, and the tone and texture of the film is very much like reading an undiscovered Sherlock novel after being a fan for many years. Right from the opening frame you're swiftly transported to Holmes world, and the film wants you to travel there, and help him solve the case. The boy in the film, therefore, becomes a parable for the audience.

Casting Ian McKellen in the role of Holmes was a stroke of genius – he's got the twinkling wit and simmering inner darkness pat, and you barely believe this was the same guy who played Gandalf and Magneto. Both Ian McKellen and the director Bill Condon are clearly in love with the legacy of the author Arthur Conan Doyle, and their dedication and passion to bring something fresh to the table is apparent. Sometimes, the case isn't the point, but the man in charge of the case is, and as a character drama 'Mr Holmes succeeds as one of the best of the year.

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