Archives For Mr Holmes

January Film Round Up

February 1, 2018 — Leave a comment

Here’s everything I wrote and posted in January.

Eat Locals (2017, Dir: Jason Flemyng) – ‘Essentially, Eat Locals is like Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers, except we’re supposed to be rooting for the monsters, not the armed forces.’ Read full review here.

Mr Holmes (2015, Dir: Bill Condon) – ‘…a testament not only to an iconic literary character but to the human spirit.’ Read full review here. 

Run For Your Wife (2013, Dir: Ray Cooney) – ‘Slow, idiotic, offensive…’ Read full review here.

The Films that Changed My Life: James Pillion – I produced this episode of the FilmInk podcast. Check it out here.

The Grinn (2017, Dir: Matthew Kalamane) – ‘…whichever way you slice it, it still comes across as tired and listless.’ Read the full review here.

They (2017, Dir: Anahita Ghazvinizadeh) – ‘…a well-meaning piece of work that suffers from an unfocused story.’ Read the full review here. 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018, Dir: Martin McDonagh) – ‘Three Billboards is a cracking start to cinema in 2018.’ Read full review here.


Mr Holmes (2015)

January 29, 2018 — Leave a comment

The Second World War has recently ended and in a remote Sussex cottage lives a crotchety old man, who wants nothing in life than to live out his final years tending to his bees. His name is Sherlock Holmes.

There are numerous pastiches of Sherlock Holmes to be found in literature and film. There’s the steampunk revisionist adventures of Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law. The bawdy slapstick of Without a Clue saw Michael Caine pretending to the super sleuth. Meanwhile, Young Sherlock Holmes stretched the patience of the heartiest champion of Doyle’s canon. In fact only this year, William Gillete’s 1916 feature Sherlock Holmes was rediscovered and given a home release. Yes, there are many portraits. Most of them sharing a common theme of Holmes in his prime. Which is what makes Mr Holmes immediately stand out from its forbearers.

Played by Ian McKellan, we see the great detective now out to pasture. His once coveted memory failing, he takes to writing names of those people he forgets on his shirt cuffs. He hides himself away from the gawping eyes of those who recognize him from the stories by his late friend, Dr John Watson. As a tonic to the numerous fabrications he found in Watson’s work, Holmes has taken to writing up a case he feels was particularly egregious with the facts.

McKellan is simply exquisite as the sleuth. No longer going up against Moriarty, his greatest enemy is the onset of dementia and a feeling of guilt for a case long forgotten. Using flashbacks, McKellan also plays Holmes in a manner we may be more accustomed to. Ageing but still pompous, this ‘younger’ Holmes is in his element as he cracks the case of a missing wife. The conclusion of which now escapes him in his winter years.

It would be amiss to overlook the virtues of McKellen’s co-stars, Laura Linney and Milo Parker, who play Holmes’ housekeeper, Mrs Munro and her son, Roger respectively. Their scenes together are beautifully written and acted as the mother tries to remind her son of a deceased father he’s too young to remember.

Like the book it was based on – A Slight Trick of the Mind – the second set of flashbacks that see Holmes travel to Japan after the Hiroshima bombing feel superfluous. Whilst Holmes’ interactions with Tamiki Umezaki (Hiroyuki Sanada) eventually tie into the film’s themes of forgiveness and loss, it feels like it overeggs the pudding.

However, we shouldn’t let trivial matters get in the way of the facts. Mr Holmes is a wonderful, emotional portrait of a character that will be dear to many people. The delicate touch of the screenplay and the strength of the performances on display are a testament not only to an iconic literary character but to the human spirit.