Monday, 22 June 2015

Mr. Holmes (4 Stars)

I can't solve everything!

This delightful film is set in 1947. Sherlock Holmes is now 93 years old. We hear that he retired in 1912 and has spent the last 35 years living on a remote farmhouse on the Sussex coast. His only companions are his housekeeper and her son, but we also hear that he's a difficult old man to look after, and his housekeepers never stay long.

At this time Sherlock Holmes has reached celebrity status, mostly due to books that his old colleague John Watson wrote about his adventures. Holmes refers to these books as penny dreadfuls, full of inaccuracies and exaggerations. For instance, he never wore a dearstalker hat or smoked a pipe. Those were Watson's inventions.

Holmes is in the process of writing his memoirs, but his failing memory is making the task difficult. Particularly puzzling is his last case, which Watson published as "Sherlock Holmes and the Lady in Grey". Holmes has read this book, but its contents unsettle him, because he doesn't think the events took place the way they're written. Holmes' greatest investigation is to uncover his own past and discover what happened to make him give up his work as a detective at the (relatively) young age of 58.

The film is moving and heart-warming. We both admire and pity Sherlock Holmes when we see how his once brilliant mind is now riddled with dementia. Ian McKellen, 17 years younger than the character he plays, gives a stunningly moving performance.

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