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Starring: Sir Ian McKellen, Laura Linney and Hiroyuki Sanada
Directed by: Bill Condon
We’ve seen many variations of Sherlock Holmes over the years. Benedict Cumberbatch’s version had a modern twist whiles Robert Downey Jr took more of a gritty route. Now it’s time for the legendary Sir Ian McKellen to have a go at playing Baker Street’s resident detective. I enjoyed the RDJ films, and I honestly think that Sherlock is one hell of a show, but would I like this? Let’s find out.
Set in 1947, the 93 year old Sherlock Holmes has retired from the detective game and is living in a farmhouse in a remote area of Sussex with his housekeeper, and her younger son, Roger. He’s a shadow of his former self. He was never happy with Dr Watson’s, his former partner, published account of his final case which lead him into retirement. Holmes is motivated to write his own account of the case, but his memory is deterioration forcing him to consume prickly ash and royal jelly in an attempt to rekindle memories before it’s too late!
It was a unique take on the Sherlock Holmes that the majority of us are accustomed to that’s for sure. Research tells me that this is based on a book entitled ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’, never read it so I can’t comment if the film differs from the book, if it has, let me know in the comments section below. The best way to describe this is to imagine Dark Knight Rises set in Victorian London minus the action scenes or a muscular villain with a ridiculous voice. The story is set in a series of flashbacks, normally I usually lose focus when films do this but I never felt like that here. It had a perfect flow to it.
Sir Ian’s acting ability is simply put a masterpiece. He’s one of this generation’s finest actors and that is strongly supported by this film. He plays both a 60 year old and a 93 year old, with both roles are different from one another. He was perfect for the role. Aside from McKellen’s performance, the overall film was okay but it never goes anywhere.
Mind you, there’s some great shots of the English countryside so credit is due there.
At the end of the day, Mr Holmes is a little too slow and insubstantial, although it provides a sound reminder as to what a fine actor Sir Ian McKellen is.
Rating: *** (Aye, it’s cannie like)