Mr. Holmes isn’t great but it’s certainly watchable especially for Ian McKellen’s performance as the tragically aging Sherlock Holmes who is losing his memory. Not sure if I’ll ever revisit the film anytime soon yet at the same time it’s got just enough to make it worth a Redbox or Netflix rental before making the investment of purchasing.
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery
Lionsgate | PG – 105 min. – $24.99 | November 10, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Mr. Holmes, the latest in the craze for the character in media from Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes to Cumberbatch’s “Sherlock” television series, takes on a new angle this time an older and retired Holmes.
The year is 1947, Sherlock Holmes (IAN MCKELLEN) lives in a small village of Sussex with a housekeeper Mrs. Munro (LAURA LINNEY) and her son, Roger (MILO PARKER). Holmes in failing health with memory issues. Via flashbacks, he travels to Japan to find a rare herb to help with his health.
With his fading memory, he also attempts to solve his last case left open before he dies. The case, which he took on 30 some-odd years earlier, involved a man (PATRICK KENNEDY) going to Holmes to find out what’s going on with his wife (HATTIE MORHAN) who is grieving the death of two of their children who died before birth. The man is disturbingly indifferent towards her suffering denying her two tombstones and even taking away a glass harmonica, with lessons, due what he believes her sanity going after overhearing her speaking to the deceased.
All of these are told through flashbacks as Holmes attempts to remember how the case unfolded and was not solved as his former assistant, Dr. Watson, had written it which eventually got adapted into a feature film. These are some of the more amusing elements of Mr. Holmes including how he never smoked a pipe nor wore a deerstalker hat.
This movie is the epitome of acting over story. Yes, the plot is interesting and compelling enough and it is well directed by Bill Condon (The Fifth Estate, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2) — based on the novel ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ by Mitch Collin — but this excels thanks to the performance of Ian McKellen who brings so much sorrow to such a well known character that you as a viewer are invested in the mystery and his journey as he becomes near the end of his life.
The supporting cast, which comprises mainly of Laura Linney and Milo Parker, marking only his second movie following 2014’s Robot Overlords, are good especially considering they really don’t have that much to work with since the main focus is on McKellen who steals the show. However, Linney comes in with nice screen presence and so she makes an immediate impact. Parker isn’t bad either and for a young, and relatively inexperienced actor, is more than tolerable and shares some good scenes with McKellen.
In the end, Mr. Holmes is what I’d call a ‘nice’ movie. It’s nothing particularly notable, one that I’d say was great (outside of McKellen) yet by the end of the 100-minutes, I never regretted watching it either. That said, I’m not sure if this is one I’d revisit anytime soon or even remember come this time next month but at the same time, it’s probably worth a rental.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Unfortunately this disc is light on features…
Mr. Holmes: The Icon (2:21; HD) – This promotional featurette covers the casting of Ian McKellen as Holmes.
Mr. Holmes: The Story (2:49; HD) goes over the plot of the movie.
Theatrical Trailer (2:25; HD)
Previews – Love & Mercy, Z for Zachariah, The End of the Tour, Some Kind of Beautiful
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Mr. Holmes is shown in its original 2.35 theatrical widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Like the movie, it’s a pleasant enough looking film with good detail and colors are generally bright and cheerful in spite of the dramatic tone. There were no major instances of aliasing or pixilation making for a clean transfer though it’s nothing overly noteworthy nor does it exactly pops off the screen.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The disc comes with a standard but effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which gets the job done providing for clear dialogue levels while any ambient noises (the sound of bees, general household sounds, etc.) make up the front and, especially, rear channels.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, Mr. Holmes isn’t great but it’s certainly watchable especially for Ian McKellen’s performance as the tragically aging Sherlock Holmes who is losing his memory. Not sure if I’ll ever revisit the film anytime soon yet at the same time it’s got just enough to make it worth a Redbox or Netflix rental before making the investment of purchasing. The Blu-ray is rather weak, unfortunately; the video and audio transfers are fine but we only get two promotional featurettes and the film’s trailer.
Brian Oliver a.k.a. The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.