Movie Review: Mr. Holmes

MR HOLMESIt’s time for another other-media review. As long as it’s related to literature. This time, I watched a movie based on a famous literary character.

Mr. Holmes, the 2015 movie based on the Arthur Conan Doyle character, Sherlock Holmes. The action of the movie takes place years after the books/stories end, although the literature does say that Holmes retired to the countryside and became a beekeeper. This movie then picks up in his old age and runs with what little info we have of it. Holmes’ mind is beginning to fail and he has a newer housekeeper with a young son. We know that the man was always a crotchety, perhaps even autistic or idiot savant, and this movie continues to deal with that aspect of his personality and perhaps seeks to reconcile it to the introspection of old age/end of life.

It is a little slow. You are distracted from the scenery, story, and acting by the snail’s pace. Speeding it up would have really changed the movie, but it is what it is.

It is beautiful and idyllic, but also melancholic and gray. Perhaps we’re contrasting the bleak mess that is Holmes’s aging mind with the beauty of a world full of life and relationship? The cinematography is definitely nice.

Everyone does a nice job with acting. With all three of the main characters, you feel a great deal of subtlty and character complexity, which is definitely something I am always on the lookout for. And this is thanks in part to great writing. Besides that pacing issues that I mentioned (which also could be blamed on editing), the writing it top notch. I only wish that there had been more Sherlock in Mr. Holmes, by which I mean there were only teasers of a former life or of the gritty, heart-stopping, playful detective that Holmes is, at heart.

In the end, despite the nice acting, cinematography, writing, etc., this was not my favorite movie, but it was definitely worth seeing once. It accomplishes a lot of really cool things, like contrasting Holmes and his brilliant child friend with the dimwitted-ness of their warmer counterpart, the housekeeper. Like exposing and resolving some of Holme’s imperfections; pride and coldness. And like keeping you entertained for yet another couple hours of Sherlock Holmes.

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