A grand return for Mr Holmes

Mr Holmes tells the tale of a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes, who, 50 years after retiring, struggles to put together the pieces of an unsolved case – one that ended his brilliant career.

It’s 1947. The scene is Sussex. The white cliffs of Winchelsea provide a panoramic backdrop. Holmes, who has long retired, is still haunted by the details of his final case – the one that ended his career.

You see, Holmes’ storied career, we find out, was indeed just that – fictional stories written by his faithful companion and partner in crime, Dr John Watson. For Holmes, the tale of his last case turned out to be quite unsatisfactory, and he was never happy with Watson’s version of the story. So he attempts to recall the actual events that took place which led to the end of his career.

Holmes twists and turns through the recesses of his declining memory. He can only remember fragments, and tries any means to resuscitate the details he has long since forgotten. After returning from a trip to Japan with a mystical herb that is supposed to regenerate memory, he sets to the task of solving this enigma. The magic weed, at first, seems to have the desired effect, but it is his relationship with his housekeeper’s son Roger, himself a budding detective, that truly lights the spark in an otherwise foggy mind.

Roger reads a portion of Holmes’ memoirs, and is pulled in by the unfinished story. He begs Sherlock to finish the tale. And Holmes obliges, setting about uncovering the mystery of what happened to ‘the lady in grey’ and giving the boy a satisfactory resolution.

I do not have a bad word to say about this film. The cast was solid, with Sir Ian McKellen the obvious standout as Holmes, but what else would you expect from such a master of stage and screen? Young Milo Parker, who played Roger Munro, was also brilliant, and especially talented for a boy his age. The rest of the cast, including Laura Linney as housekeeper Mrs Munro, were all well suited to their roles and played them admirably.

I must admit, I had high expectations for this film, and it did not disappoint. From the first minute, I was drawn into the world of 1940s, then, not long after, 19th century, England. The camerawork was exceptional, and on the whole, it’s a fantastic movie, and is more than worth the price of admission. The end will leave you wishing it could keep going, and I could keep on writing this review about how much I enjoyed the film, but as with all good things, it must come to an end.

So, hats off to Mr Holmes. I rate it a solid 8/10.

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