Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: Mr. Holmes


Title: Mr. Holmes

Distributor: BBC Films
Director: Bill Condon
Writer(s): Jeffrey Hatcher (screenplay)  
Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Hattie Morahan  
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some disturbing images, and incidental smoking
Running Time: 104 min
Synopsis: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.

What Others Are Saying? 

Rotten Tomatoes: 87% "Fresh", Top Critics: 82% "Fresh", Audience: 78% "Liked It"

Metacritic: Critics: 67 out of 100, Users: 8.2 out of 10
MRQE: 72 out of 100

My Review 

Source Material: Based on a novel titled "A Slight Trick of the Mind" written by Mitch Cullin.

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: Sherlock Holmes has been known for being proficient in hand-to-hand combat, this film doesn't focus on that aspect of the Holmes character. If you want an action pack Sherlock Holmes film watch the film starring Robert Downey Jr. This film's primary focused on Holmes during his retirement years as he reflects back on his last case.
  • Comedy Elements: There are some light-hearted moments sprinkled in the story
  • Dramatic Elements: The drama is where this film shines the most.
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: Most portrayals of Sherlock Holmes showcase his detective skill as some sort of supernatural power, in doing so raising the Sherlock Holmes character to folk-hero status. This film constantly mentions that portrayal of Holmes was heavily embellished upon compared to the "real" Holmes. In this film, Holms detective skills stem from his aptitude for observation and deductive reasoning. 
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 10: Nerds and Geeks, like myself, praise Sir Ian McKellen for his portrayal of Gandalf in The Lord of the Ring and Hobbit trilogies. Some of us may even mention his performance as Magneto in the X-men franchise. What we as film fans sometimes forget is Sir Ian McKellen is a classically trained actor, with a frist love for the stage. Before becoming a movie star, he was well known for performing in many Shakespearing plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater. When I heard he was playing Sherlock Holmes, I thought it was for a stage adoption, because of his history with theater, but I was mistaken. I personally connected with Sir Ian McKellen portrayal of Mr. Holmes. Sir Ian McKellen's performance was so good that my feelings were reflective to the Holmes character in the film. I wouldn't be surprised to see a nomination when award season rolls around.
  • Cinematography: 8: I thought the locations of this film was the best part of the cinematography. In my opinion, its hard to mess up a beautiful landscape. I know cinematographers don't necessarily pick the locations, but they have to figure out how to shoot them, and I think this was a well-shot film.
  • Direction: 7: I have to be honest, I'm was clueless on the works of Bill Condon. After looking him up on IMDB, I realized he was the one behind, Kinsey, Dreamgirls, and Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2. I was a bit shocked to find out that the guys behind this well-made movie was also directed a Twilight movie, I digress. I think Bill did a decent job overall on Mr. Holmes.
  • Editing: 7: There was two main flashback: Holmes last case and his trip to Japan. I though the way the filmmaker handled the flashback from an editing standpoint was less than perfect. I personally liked the two flashbacks and how they add to the story but at the same time I thought they slowed the film down.
  • Screenplay: 7.5: I thought the story was inserting. This film brought to us a different Sherlock Holmes than we are accustom to seeing. I liked that the film was more or less a commentary on the fictionalized Sherlock Holmes. This film ran with the idea that Sherlock Holmes was a real person with real life experiences. Mr. Holmes had been living in the glorified image of himself written by his friend and colleague John Watson. We, the audience, meet the retired Holmes who want to write a story that's based on facts, unlike the stories Watson wrote. It was those accepts of the Sherlock Holmes story that made this film compelling.
  • Sound and Music: 8: I really enjoyed the score of this film.
  • VFX: 7: There were hardly any visual effect shots in this film. I'm sure they may have used some visual effect shots to enhance or extend shot but thats about it.
Overall: 8: I really enjoyed this film. It's nice to watch a film like this to take a break from the sea of CGI action-packed, summer blockbusters.

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