Mr Holmes

27 Aug

A few of you may remember that I read and reviewed Mitch Cullin’s book “A Slight Trick of the Mind” last year (https://margysmusings.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/a-slight-trick-of-the-mind/).

When I was in London I had the opportunity to see the film adaptation starring Sir Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes.  I admit to being privately doubtful as to whether I would enjoy it, but it was an evening out with a good friend, so I was happy to go.

I am so very glad I did.  “Mr Holmes” is a brilliant movie.  It makes a book that is virtually incomprehensible into something magical.  I am usually anti books being adapted into movies because, in my opinion, the book is usually buggered beyond all recognition.  However, “Mr Holmes” is that extremely rare creature, a movie that is better than the book that spawned it.

Sir Ian McKellen is delightful as the 93 year old Sherlock Holmes trying to recall the case that drove him into retirement.  Sir Ian’s talents as an actor are incredible.  He quite literally had me in tears as Holmes struggled with the dementia and the frailty of extreme old age.

Two actors whose roles were little more than cameos do deserve special mention.

Nicholas Rowe plays an actor playing Sherlock Holmes in a movie about Holmes’ final case.  Full of pomp and dignity, he was delightful as an almost caricature of the character.  Given the time period that that part of the movie is set in, Nicholas Rowe was basically playing Basil Rathbone playing Sherlock Holmes.  He did an excellent job, making the small scene memorable.  Sherlockians who see the film will have a quiet chuckle to themselves.  Nicholas played the teenage Sherlock Holmes in the movie “The Young Sherlock Holmes” back in the 1980s.

The special mention goes to Roger Allam as Holmes’ doctor, Dr Barrie.  The character is a soft-hearted curmudgeon that really deserved more screen time.  Roger Allam had what was probably the only truly humourous lines in the movie, but as they rely on the context of the scene, I can’t quote them here.  You’ll have to watch the movie for yourself.

I hesitate to recommend the movie to the casual movie goer.  I think you really do need to have at least a passing familiarity with Sherlock Holmes and his world to really enjoy the film.  But for the dedicated Sherlockian, I have no hesitation in giving the movie 5 stars and suggesting you hurry along the the cinema to see it, or get the dvd when it becomes available.

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