Thursday, July 23, 2015

Movie Review #285: "Mr. Holmes" (2015)

Movie"Mr. Holmes"
Director: Bill Condon
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
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Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) has been retired for many years and  living in the countryside. He has been battling memory loss and has been trying different holistic remedies to combat this problem with no success. He spends his time beekeeping and trying to write a book based on his final case. He hopes to correct the embellishments found in the novels based on his exploits. Holmes is struggling to remember the events of his last case, which led him to retirement. The only thing that jogs his memory is his housekeeper's (Laura Linney) young son Roger (Milo Parker), who idolizes Mr. Holmes.

This movie wasn't quite what we expected and it was slightly different than what was portrayed in the trailer. We knew this was to be a re-imagining of the Sherlock Holmes character from what we have been so accustomed to based on other works about the character, that much we expected. But everything else was quite different. This isn't about a mystery that Holmes is trying to solve with the help of a young boy, but rather a tale about an aging man trying to atone for a mistake and set the record straight while his mind slips away from him. It is also about a friendship between a very unlikely pair: Mr. Holmes, played by Ian McKellen, and a young boy name Roger, played by Milo Parker. Both McKellen and Parker are excellent in this film and give great performances. They manage to play off of one another well as Parker is slightly snarky and McKellen is slightly grumpy. Their relationship is arguably the best part of the film. Laura Linney, who plays Roger's mother and Sherlock's house keeper Mrs. Munroe, also does a good job as well in her supporting role, though her accent waffles from time to time and sounds quite fake. She doesn't want Roger to get too close to Mr. Holmes, often yelling at him and Sherlock to keep away from one another. She just wants what's best for her child, and since her husband died in the war, Roger is all Mrs. Munroe has left.

Despite having a solid cast performing their craft well, the movie itself leaves a lot to be desired, unfortunately. It is poorly paced and drags in many spots, even though it is less than two hours long. It also could be setting the wrong expectation when considering the marketing of the film. We went in expecting a new take on the Sherlock Holmes character solving crimes in a more practical manner. This of itself isn't bad, we see this all the time with trailers, where they take you in one direction only to yank you in an entirely different direction during its run time. Here, what we wound up watching was a movie about an old man teaching a young child about beekeeping and creating a bond in a surrogate grandfather-surrogate grandson type of relationship. There is a lot of beautiful scenery and imagery here, and while we did enjoy this interwoven with the acting, the story was not compelling enough to keep us engaged. The movie does show some crime-solving and private investigation moments through flashbacks, which are great, intriguing additions to the movie, even though we solve the mystery long before Mr. Holmes remembers it all. This lack of intrigue and the constant battle between different directions winds up being messy in its execution. We love Ian McKellen as the pick to play an aging Sherlock Holmes, we just didn't love this movie.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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