Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Mr. Holmes is a lovely slow gem of a film. If you want the antidote to the summertime blockbuster, here it is! Based on the Mitch Cullin novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Ian McKellen stars as an aging Sherlock Holmes who has given up the detective business and retired to the Sussex coast.
Wishing to set the record straight about his last case 30 some odd years previously (and struggling with early dementia) Mr. Holmes tries to recall and write down the details of this last case.
Mr. Holmes: I've decided to write the story down; as it was, not as John (Watson) made it. Get it right before I die.
Egged on by adorable Milo Parker as his housekeeper's son Roger the story proceeds in flashbacks to his last case, and more recently to Japan where Holmes goes to get some Prickly Ash plants which, when ingested as jelly, supposedly has restorative properties for the memory.
Ian McKellen, now 75 years of age, was a perfect choice to bounce back and forth from a spry 60 year old detective to a doddering, liver spotted 93 year old retiree tending to his bees and grumping at his doctor.
Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) is an ethereal "Woman in Dove Grey" who is at the center of the 30 year old mystery.
Laura Linney would have been perfect as the housekeeper Mrs. Munro if she could have nailed whichever accent she was going for. Still, I loved her in this! Unimpressed by the old man's credentials, she clashes with Holmes delightfully.
The chalk cliffs of East Sussex are a character in and of themselves. But Frances de la Tour, Hiroyuki Sanada, Roger Allam and Philip Davis give the supporting roles some real depth.
Roger: Have you ever been bitten?
Mr. Holmes: Stung! Bees don't have teeth!
[Mrs Munro appears]
Mrs. Munro: Have you ever been bitten?
Mr. Holmes: No. I have never been bit.
I can't wait to see this one again!