MR HOLMES | REVIEW

MR HOLMES is a film I was fortunate enough to see as part of the Sydney Film Festival, sitting in a balcony at The State Theatre. It was a grand venue for a grand screening of a bloody sensationally grand movie. No twiddling with the intro for this one, MR HOLMES is one of my favourite movies of the year and is my favourite Sherlock Holmes movie that I have seen. It is a grange range wine of a movie and it makes me smile just thinking about it. It is out this Thursday 23rd July in Australia from the fine folks at Transmission Films and oddly only on limited release. It runs for 104mins and is rated M. SEE IT!!

 

MR HOLMES MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
MR HOLMES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING

This elder year’s instalment is set in 1947 and Sherlock Holmes is long retired and quite frail, settled to his estate on the coast where he keeps his bees and lives with his housekeeper and her young son, a Holmes appreciating young lad who is an amateur sleuth himself. Holmes’s memory is sadly failing him and his whits are truly at the pointy end. But there is one case that still troubles him and while he has lost all his associates and friends, Watson has sadly passed, Holmes is determined to record all the details of this one case and to write them as a book. He has his good days and his bad days but this case is more important than most and part of the reason it still troubles Holmes so much. But reminiscing and recording are not all that takes places and a friendship with the young lad gives Holmes some of the fountain of youth required and an additional small case on the estate could be one of the deadliest and saddest to date.

 

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MR HOLMES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MR HOLMES (SIR IAN MCKELLAN)

 

MR HOLMES is based on the novel by Mitch Cullin, “A Slight Trick Of The Mind” and the movie was originally titled this but the film makers decided to make the film more accessible and recognisable so gave it the name we now have. Cullin’s novel is something I must now read. It was like he had the thought, “how will Sherlock exist when his body starts failing him?” and then sat down and wrote a sonnet-like ode to the master of detectives. Director Bill Condon (DREAMGIRLS, GODS AND MONSTERS, TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PARTS 1 & 2) then read said book and saw the vision and then painted a moving image canvas of the sonnet and gave us this beautiful adaptation.

Everything about the movie is just beautiful, it is slow, but not boring, it is graceful, it is powerful, it is emotional and it has the youth meeting the old, a truly beautiful thing. It also never lets the audience think he is a sentimental old man, as difficult and as pig headed as always, but still with a deeply rooted heart of gold that follows the correct path.

 

MR HOLMES MOVIE IMAGE
MR HOLMES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MR HOLMES (SIR IAN MCKELLAN) WITH ROGER (MILO PARKER) LEARNING BEE KEEPING

 

I wonder if Condon ever had anyone else in mind for Holmes besides McKellan? It is McKellan at the top of his game, he brings as much if not more to the role of Holmes as he has ever brought into any of his famed roles. While McKellan is quite an old man in the real world he also had to be aged for most of this movie to be a lot older, the make-up on him is amazing. And McKellan’s nuanced performance is a sight to see, I would literally kill people to see him perform this as a stage play.

Due to most of the scenes only being with one or a couple of people and most of them isolated scenes the film has a vibe of the theatrical in it. Laura Linney is also a superb supporting actor as Mrs Munro, a very lonely and sad woman who struggles to do the best for her son, Roger, while having to begrudgingly put up with the cantankerous old bastard Holmes. Linney plays this one quite raw and she does the penniless housekeeper really well.

Then there is Roger himself, played perfectly by little tacker Milo Parker, who reminds me so much of Thomas Brodie Sangster as young Sam in LOVE ACTUALLY. Parker is the fountain of youth to the ailing Holmes and brings sparkle and life to the movie and the lives of the characters.

 

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MR HOLMES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MRS MUNRO (LAURA LINNEY)

 

The cinematography from Tobias A. Schliessler is just stunning; incredibly subtle yet detailed shots with muted tones and softness. It always looks beautiful. Complimenting the camera work is the art design (Jonathan Houlding & James Wakefield) and costume design from Keith Madden. While Mr Holmes’s suits look spectacular McKellan recently discussed his dislike for them in interviews claiming how much the materials rubbed in all the wrong places, while I believe he is probably jesting he did state this would make him hesitant about reprising his role in future instalments.

 

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MR HOLMES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MR HOLMES (SIR IAN MCKELLAN)

 

Beautiful to the point of poetic MR HOLMES brings more to the character through subtlety as opposed to bombastic flair and explosive action. This film warmed my heart and proves McKellan is a god of the screen yet again. MR HOLMES will end 2015 in my top 10 movies and I cannot wait to take my parents to see it again.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

 

Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).