Mr. Holmes

MrHolmesMr. Holmes (2015) is more than just another revisionist Sherlock Holmes story.  It’s also a story about losing oneself to “senility” – and the struggle to maintain one’s identity and self-esteem.

I found this added dimension to be especially poignant since I have aging relatives.  I’ve seen in Holmes’ face (played superbly by Ian McKellan) the same expression I’ve seen in nursing home residents who I’ve passed by while visiting.

A little bit heart-wrenching, to be sure.

However, McKellan’s Holmes never asks us in the audience (or anyone in the film) to feel sorry for him.  He simply goes on about his business – which in this case it trying to remember how he botched his last case to the point that it led to his retirement as a detective.

There are no stereotypes here.

The self-assuredness of Basil Rathbone, the drug-addicted intensity of Jeremy Brett, or even the wing-chun mastery of Robert Downey, Jr. – all go by the wayside.  Holmes, in this case, is, simply, a professional detective – and decidedly not like the “embellishments” his former colleague, John Watson, used in “his stories”.

Here, Holmes is real.  And I liked him.  While true fans of the genre might not like this film, I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It’s a little movie: quiet and understated.  And a fine new look on an old icon of literature.

 

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