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Mr Holmes - DVD Review

Mr Holmes

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SIR Ian McKellen delivers a masterful performance in Mr Holmes, an engaging if slight look at the great detective Sherlock Holmes in his latter years.

Split between two time periods, the film principally unfolds as an elderly Holmes struggles to resist the onset of early Alzheimer’s while tending to his beloved bees and forging a relationship with the young son (Milo Parker) of the woman (Laura Linney) now serving as his house maid.

In doing so he must try and solve the one final case that eluded him, flashbacks to which serve to show the detective in his pomp, albeit working without the assistance of Watson.

McKellen captures both incarnations of Holmes extremely well; injecting the older, more vulnerable man with a keen sense of regret as well as the same, albeit faltering sense of determination that made him so revered in the first place.

His portrayal of the younger version of Holmes is no less absorbing, capturing as it does the piercing wisdom and accompanying confidence of a master at the peak of his powers.

In many ways, Mr Holmes bears comparison to works like The Shootist in capturing a legend confronting their own mortality and persona – just without the grand finale.

It’s just a shame that the rest of Bill Condon’s film struggles to match the high bar set by its leading man given that the central mystery pertaining to Holmes’ last case is underwhelming and lacks any real sense of urgency despite being laced with tragedy.

Indeed, the leisurely pace can also work against it and quite often lends it the feel more of a TV movie, which is disappointing.

Of the supporting characters, Linney also feels under-employed, even though Parker, as her son and Holmes’ new ‘Watson’, is suitably endearing.

Mr Holmes therefore succeeds best as a showcase of McKellen’s talents and he alone makes the most compelling case for seeing it.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 104mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: October 26, 2015