So here we are again, yet another interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective Mr. Sherlock Holmes has graced our screens. However its not Robert Downey Jr or even Benedict Cumberbatch in the spotlight this time but instead the one and only Ian McKellan. Mr. Holmes had a lot to live up too as the recent versions of the famous detective have been very entertaining, could MeKellan’s Holmes be as memorable?
Mr. Holmes is a very different Sherlock story compared to those that have come before it. As you have probably gleaned from the trailers, posters and casting of McKellan this film focuses on Holmes later life so naturally has a pace that matches the characters older age. The film tells three stories at one time, jumping between them throughout the run time – each of these boast various levels of intrigue meaning that time spent telling the less interesting ones can become slightly frustrating. Mr. Holmes allows the viewer to get to know the character and focuses much more on him than any mysteries or action. This isn’t to say that there is no detective work on show here as one of the stories that the film tells explores Sherlock’s final case, this was the most interesting of the three stories being told but even at that it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. Nonetheless, when this story was being told I was most engaged and enjoyed McKellan’s portrayal of Mr. Holmes in his last days of work. Mr. Holmes should be a treat for many of the fans as there are several nods to past cases and characters throughout and as the poster says really does reveal ‘The Man Behind The Myth’. The film takes a nice slant on the character and begins to suggest that he maybe isn’t all that Watson has made him out to be in his outlandish tales of their cases.
Ian McKellan was fantastic, which of course was to be expected. He got the chance to play Sherlock at a couple different stages of his life, the contrast between these periods was evident in his acting and it was a good role for him to play. There were a few other names acting alongside him but for me the one who stood out the most was Milo Parker who played Roger, the son of Mr. Holmes’ housekeeper. This young actor was fantastic and held his own against the acting giant McKellan, it was their chemistry that worked so well though. The film says a lot through this relationship and there are other messages throughout the movie which are effective. Despite this though there were really only a couple of times when the film manged to engage me at a further level, the pace of the film is naturally a lot slower than past films and whilst this didn’t bother me too much as I understood the reasoning behind this I could completely accept if people found the film a tad boring. If it wasn’t for my interest in the character I doubt the film could have kept me entertained.
Mr. Holmes presents a really interesting and intriguing slant on the well known character helped hugely by a wonderful performance from Ian McKellan. Milo Parker acts well as a supporting character here and I’d say he is one to watch as he adds a lot here. There are some nice messages and a few moments of elevated intrigue but if you aren’t a fan of Sherlock Holmes I wouldn’t recommend this movie. Its slow nature and at times bland story offer the viewer not a lot to connect with. I’m glad I saw the movie and I appreciate what has been done here but Mr. Holmes won’t rank too highly amongst my favourite interpretations of Sherlock Holmes.
Rating – 7/10