Mr. Holmes

(USA/UK 2015)

In Bill Condon’s adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Sir Ian McKellen plays an elderly Sherlock Holmes, who traded in his magnifying glass for relative seclusion in an English seaside town 35 years ago after the only case he ever “lost.” When not tending to his bees, Holmes is literally writing his final chapter, struggling to remember why he gave up detective work. With some cajoling from idolizing Roger (Milo Parker), the young son of his housekeeper (Laura Linney), Holmes’ memory returns to him in dribs and drabs that he must piece together to solve this last remaining mystery.

I’d like to say I enjoyed Mr. Holmes, but I didn’t. The concept is interesting, but the story lacks momentum. The tone is wistful, mournful, and sleepy. The pace is slower than Holmes hobbling around on his cane. None of the plot twists or big reveals are all that surprising. McKellen’s performance is fine, but his iconic character—physically ailing and mentally fading—is downright depressing. Flickers of humor and a few engaging moments emerge, but I still found the whole thing boring. Mr. Holmes is not my cup of tea.

(Home via iTunes) D+

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