Mr. Holmes Review – Innovative and Original

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Mr. Holmes, from MIRAMAX and Roadside Attraction, brings to the screen a new twist in the magical world of the world’s greatest detective Sherlock Holmes, with fresh dialogue and contemporary sufferings, an innovative and original tale is spun.

Directed by Bill Condon, Mr. Holmes stars Sir Ian McKellen, in the title role, with Laura Linney and Milo Parker making up the central cast with supporting performances by Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy and Nicholas Rowe. Mr. Holmes was written by Jeffery Hatcher.

Mr. Holmes opens with the tired Holmes, played by Sir Ian McKellen, traveling toward new beginnings. Escaping, in reality. The cabin conversation with the boy centers on his attempts to kill a bee that seems to have gotten caught in a trap which opens the lesson of bees a hobby Holmes keeps up and the difference between bees and their natural enemy the wasp.

This seeming innocuous conversation, in actuality sets the tone for the final act of this family drama.

Arriving at his country home, Holmes, sequesters himself away with a widowed housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, brought to life by Laura Linney,and her precocious son, Roger, played brilliantly by 12 year old Milo Parker.

Together they live the life of lost souls, toiling about the countryside, bonding with nature, hoping and believing the good they do will one day pay the penitence fate has bestowed upon them.

Woven throughout the story is Holmes recollections, gathered from a fading memory, of what he believes is a misstep, a failure which causes him to believe he lost his ability uncover the hidden and stop catastrophe or thwart the inevitable.

The caregiving Mrs. Munro, once married to an RAF pilot who died in the War, lives the life of widowhood. Silently carry out her duties, as her hopes of the future exploded over the countryside leaving her bitter, alone, with limited skills in a limited society and a single parent.

Her son, a precocious young man, watches as time, once a commodity and limitless, becomes the enemy attacking the mind, body and health of the detective with an uncanny ability to assess and with precision deduce what the day held, where and even the outcome.

The once great detective is haunted by the certainty of fault and blame over a failure to stop a determined woman from a fate she has resigned herself. His inability, skill, humor and even charm failed him this time. Sensitivities, however, seem to be the single lacking attribute of the elder statesman which make his equations factual void of human emotion. A serious flaw for someone of extreme intelligent to overlook.

The tiered generational filters, the old man, the boy and the middle aged woman, all bring different and unique elements to the screen. Through the plot and drama one sees that even as age advances lessons can be learned.

While they are expected as children the fact that Holmes in the end of his life has finally come to understand the gap in his ability wasn’t the absence of skill it was the sensitivity that life, fate, kismet, design, God or whatever one attributes happenstance or coincidence to has given him

The opportunity for a second chance. He, without hesitation, grasps it and holds to it. One, may see it has manipulation or determination. Yet, sometimes, the future is easier to understand through the eyes of objectivity than the pained, unsure, and burdened.

The expectation of solid performances goes almost without being stated. The introduction of Milo Parker, who stands toe-to-toe with the vast skill and depth of talent of both McKellen and Linney and shines, holding his own against the two seasoned and extremely talented performers added a vital, essential, and crucial element. He is a joy to watch; a handsome boy with real future potential and longevity.

A very enjoyable period piece. Mr. Holmes opens July 17, 2015.

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