Elementary, my dear Watson?
Thanks to Transmission Films we had the chance to see Mr. Holmes before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself.
There comes a time for every successful figure where they realize he or she may have lost their mojo. Mr. Holmes is similar to that outline but with some extra little knick-knacks that stirs this biographical drama into something special. Directed by Bill Cullin based on the novel by Arthur Nolan, the film challenges the great detective with his greatest case. Himself.
The plot takes a leapfrog narrative like J.Edgar through a 93 year old Sherlock Holmes in the present trying to get his memory back for failing a case around 30 years ago. He punished his failing by isolating himself to a lonely remote home with the support of his recent housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her bright son (Milo Parker). Holmes tries ever so hard to find out why he failed that one case by trying to remember his past again. So then comes the flashbacks where therein lies two of Holme’s prior cases that holds the answers he seeks.
With age comes vulnerability and Ian Mckellen captures that superbly. It’s not just the line deliveries but down to the very shakes and groans that makes you realize that the great detective’s body is reaching its expiration date. Attention to detail is definitely a plus for Mckellen’s performance and it certainly makes you cherish your body a lot.
There’s a witty use of Sherlock Holmes meta in the storytelling where what’s portrayed in the pop culture of Sherlock Holmes is not what the film’s Sherlock Holmes like at all. It is his old friend Watson that wrote and produced the fiction that launched Sherlock Holmes into such a cultural icon in the world of this film. In the meantime, Holmes watches his literary fiction being adapted on the screen like an alien surveying a strange new planet except with resentment. It’s remarkably entertaining and adds to the dramatic value of what it means for Holmes to find his truth which is quintessential as the plot develops.
The film’s doesn’t shy for its authentic looking 1940s. You only wish the camera had broader angles of shots to show more of this era that Sherlock Holmes is immersed in. The camera restrictions makes it 70s and 80s TV-esque with frequent close ups and unsophisticated tracking shots avoiding cinematic prospects. It’s a shame to see so little for all the production values you notice briefly as Mckellen traverses the authentic looking historical streets.
The fear of not getting a thorough psychological profile into what made Sherlock Holmes tick was definitely a worry that has been well vanquished. The film’s exploration into the power of rationalization and imagination was efficiently sown to what made and unmade the great British detective. In fact, the film was so efficient in its storytelling that its running time was only 104 minutes. Not a bad batch of editing.
After seeing Guy Ritchie’s action packed Sherlock adventure and Cumberbatch making a suave modern reimagining of the great detective, the existential, old and grey Holmes is a another fantastic addition into the famous detective.Mckellen kills it as the elderly Sherlock Holmes and you cannot imagine a better person at the helm. What a satisfying blend of sentimentality and mystery.
Mr. Holmes – In Cinemas July 23, 2015