Movie Review: Mr. Holmes (2015)

Posted: November 25, 2015 in Drama
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An older Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) has become a recluse.  He’s resigned himself to a self-imposed exile, as punishment for an unsatisfactory ending to his last case 30 years ago.  Holmes now lives with a maid, Mrs. Monro, (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger. (Milo Parker) Beset by age, and a flagging memory, Holmes tries to piece together the case of a husband, Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy) who asks Holmes to tail his wife, Ann, who’s been acting erratically ever since the death of their two children. Can Holmes piece together the details of his last case, and soothe his uneasy conscience?

I wasn’t very pleased with the tone of this movie, the Sherlock Holmes characterized in this film is dealing with aging, writing names on his sleeve to remember people names, and then this depressing movie takes a turn for the morose.  The subplots didn’t seem to fit the main story, and the ending suddenly changes tone completely and seems tacked on.  This is a shamelessly manipulative script. The writers try to have a little fun with the legend of Holmes, but that’s about all the fun there is to be had in this movie.  Anyone expecting the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Sherlock will be sorely disappointed.

The acting is OK.  Ian McKellen, a world-class actor is saddled with a maudlin script, and does the best he can to rescue it.  But the writers sabotaged this film from the start and McKellen is the victim of that sabotage.  Laura Linney is given even less to work with, and she does very little with what she’s given.  Milo Parker is the only ray of sunshine in this otherwise moribund film, which is what makes the last 15 minutes of the film so utterly unnecessary.

The pacing is painfully slow, there are some nice shots of the English countryside, but not enough visually for the viewer to forget that the story is going nowhere, the director gets no good performances here, except from little Milo, and I’m loathe to give this director credit for anything, because he could have left large chunks of this movie on the editing room floor.

Mr. Holmes. Perfunctory, my dear Watson.

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