Mr. Holmes is a very decent Sherlock Holmes movie and includes a lovely bit of unseen history to the character by showing him in his later years. I don’t recall a Sherlock Holmes film or TV series to actually depict him in his retired state beekeeping.
Having Ian Mckellen adds that extra grandeur to the character that might have been lacking had the film been made without him for it’s not a solid film. I felt that Hattie Morahan did not imbue the idea that she truly understood Holmes, that is perhaps because the character, Ann Kelmot, that she plays isn’t the most impressive foil for Holmes. Under a another actress the character might have been elevated to other heights but I did not believe that after all his adventures, trials and failures that this one woman would be the catalyst for Sherlock Holmes retirement. It might be that the mystery unsolved is more intriguing than the answer.
Ian Mckellen’s Sherlock Holmes is unlike any before. He is a far more down to earth, humanistic creature that lacks the cold charisma that others have depicted him as. McKellen has said that he avoid learning too much about the character in order to play him without any anchors of what Holmes should be dragging him down. It’s a rather refreshing approach I have to say and it matches the tone of the film which is not fast pace or erratic but allows one to have the images on screen soak into them. The little kid is great too.
The only thing that I tire of is the idea that this is the “Real” story as told by Holmes which is becoming something of a trope. There are too many “Holmes’ version of the story” books. Why can’t modern writers accept that Watson’s Holmes is the real one?
Notes: I love, LOVE that Nicholas Rowe makes a cameo in this as Sherlock Holmes portrayed in a movie that Mckellen’s Holmes goes to see. Anyone who watched ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ will get a real kick out of it. It’s a interesting way to bookend Holmes’s retirement by featuring a Holmes who portrayed him in his beginnings.
Favorite Quote: “when you’re a detective, and a man comes to see you, it’s usually about his wife. ” – Sherlock Holmes