September 24, 2015, SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada
Runtime: 104 min
Language: English, Japanese
Seattle International Film Festival: Best Actor 2nd Place, Ian McKellen
“Mr. Holmes adds another version of the beloved character to the Sherlock canon; less a mystery solved than a character explored, fascinating in many small ways thanks to superb work from McKellen.”–Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
Bill Condon has run the spectrum from directing big, splashy movies such as Dreamgirls, and two entries in the Twilight series to character studies, including Gods and Monsters and Kinsey. Like those predecessors, Mr. Holmes takes place in the middle of the 20th century and is smart, sedate and well acted.
Based on Mitch Cullin’s novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” Mr. Holmes imagines the old age of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective. It’s 1947, the war is over, and Holmes is residing in the countryside. He has a housekeeper (Laura Linney) and, aside from his beekeeping hobby and his memories, she and her little boy (Milo Parker) are his world.
The film’s immediate challenge is to convince the audience that this is indeed Sherlock Holmes. This is achieved by revealing an understanding of Holmes in all of his complexity — his loneliness and his emotional timidity, as well as his intellectual bravado. The film plays out at a steady pace, always giving us something, interplay of characters worth noting, some insight into the great detective’s personality. And all the while, it’s building. It’s heading somewhere.
As for the story, Holmes is struggling with memory loss while trying to set down the record of his last case, the one that made him give up sleuthing and retire to the country. We move back and forth from the immediate present to 30 years previous, where a mysterious woman (Hattie Morahan) plays a central role. Holmes comes to rely upon the his housekeeper’s boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it’s too late.