Renewing the partnership that produced the fantastic 1998 film Gods And Monsters, Bill Condon and Ian McKellen reunite to bring Mr. Holmes to the big screen. And like their earlier work together, the film focuses on the age-induced decline of mental acuity and the self-induced seclusion brought on by an inner turmoil.
The story here (based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin) is told in such rich strokes, it’s sometime easy to forget that both this tale and the character of Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are both fictional. McKellen continues to amaze and his performance here while being bathed is subdued British wit burns below the surface with the frustrations of age and the decline of the mental process.
The story revolves around Holmes’ last case and the circumstance that lead to his early retirement and the subsequent 35 years of his self-induced seclusion. It’s a side of the super sleuth that is seldom seen and it informs the character with more human traits that are usually seen with this fictional titan of the mind
This is a work that is told with a pace so far removed from the big bang ethos prevalent today that it might appeal only to those with the patience and eye for subtle detail. However for filmgoers with those attributes, the film offers rich rewards.