The great Ian McKellen is playing (undoubtedly) one of the best characters ever written, so how the heck can this go wrong? Mr. Holmes is directed by Bill Condon and written by Jeffery Hatcher and Mitch Cullen. Stars-Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada. Premise-An old, retired Sherlock Holmes tries to remember his last case as it apparently ruined his spirit, and drive to solve mysteries.
I love Sherlock Holmes, you love Sherlock Holmes, everybody loves Sherlock Holmes. I look forward to any adaptation of the iconic books (I loved Elementary and the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock movies) as they all have their own special twist on the characters and their environments while still maintaining being faithful to the characters. This film’s unique twist would be focusing on an old Sherlock Holmes. First, I’ll start off with the actors. Ian McKellen is (obviously) outstanding, Laura Linney is ok, while everyone else is: passable.
Honestly, it took me a while to think through this movie’s story, because there is a lot to consider. For one, the first act of the movie is pretty boring. Mostly because it just shows an ancient Holmes doing random things like taking care of bees (insert The Wicker Man joke here). Flashbacks are used in the movie’s writing, and when they cut to a slightly younger Sherlock solving mysteries, the movie gets exciting and charming. Have you noticed the one thing that most adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes books all have in common? A constant sense of mystery, witty humor, and intrigue. This movie has bits and pieces of that, but the overall tone is actually very depressing. The filmmakers go to great lengths to show us how distraught and defeated he is. Although the movie is really good at that, it doesn’t match the character of Sherlock. He has been beaten before, but it is his tenacity and spirit that keep him going (as well as keeping him likeable). To the film’s credit, the ending wraps up pretty nicely and is easily the most suspenseful part in the movie. As for the secondary characters, they’re pretty forgettable. The movie tries to establish this big emotional friendship between Holmes and the son of his housekeeper. The problem with that is, the boy is not interesting, probably because he has very little character development. Most of that development consists of asking questions.
I’m probably describing this movie to be much worse than it actually is. The nerdgasm and nostalgia I got from watching this keep it far from D territory. Ian is great, the character of Sherlock is faithful (for the most part), and the ending is nice. However, the boring first act, and overly melodramatic tone hold it back from the more entertaining renditions of the classic character. I respect the idea, but the execution could have been better. Mr. Holmes gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C+.