Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Video review: "Mr. Holmes"

Some of the best stories involve taking a well-known, even tired narrative and putting a clever twist on it. In “Mr. Holmes,” we get to hang out with Sherlock Holmes, who here is presented as a real person, now 93 years old and mentally doddering.

Expertly played by the great Ian McKellen, it’s an exploration of the hero myth when the hero has lost his grasp on the very thing that made him revered.

Directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters”) from a screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on a novel by Mitch Cullin, “Mr. Holmes” finds the storied sleuther long retired and living in a remote farmhouse with his housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her precocious son, Roger (Milo Parker), whom he befriends. His former partner Watson made him famous by writing about their cases, though Holmes feels too many liberties were taken with the facts.

His memory is failing, and Holmes is trying far-out remedies to restore it, like jelly made from a rare Japanese plant. Meanwhile, he is vexed in trying to accurately recall his final case from decades ago, which caused him to give up the detective business forever.

Essentially, Holmes is investigating himself, leveraging the remains of a formerly formidable intellect to grasp for new understanding about the things in life that are truly important. He’s a man who has always prized the logical aspect of human behavior, and learns that the emotional part is less easily mastered.

“Mr. Holmes” is one of those movies where not a lot really happens, but we’re overjoyed by its subtle little perambulations.

Alas, special features are… not so special. The DVD and blu-ray both come with just two making-of featurettes.



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