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Mr Holmes

Year: 2015
Production Co: AI-Film
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher
Cast: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker

I've heard nothing but praise for this film, including the peculiar comment that it grows on you the longer after seeing it you think about it. I've found the opposite. I nearly fell asleep watching it, shuffling in my seat and checking the time more than once, and the more distance I get the less I remember about it except for how drab it was.

It should be said that Ian McKellen is brilliant in the role. Watching him portray the famed detective in his 90s, I found myself wondering for a long time how old McKellen really was. He employs a wealth of tics and flourishes that make him seem truly frail and elderly I was sure I hadn't seen in the X-Men or Lord of the Rings movies.

It's in everything from the particular way he hunches a little as he walks to the way he harrumphs gently when he finishes a sentence, and he truly embodies the role of Holmes in his present day incantation.

It's a shame there wasn't a little more meat on the bones of such a great role (and actor). In his dotage, Holmes lives in the south of England tending to his bees and being curmudgeonly with his no-nonsense housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her little boy (Milo Parker).

He's starting to worry because his health and memory are fading with age, and he's haunted by memories of the case that caused him to retire as well as a trip to Japan in search of a rare flower.

There are some aspects that will make you smile. One is that the whole story is framed around the idea that Holmes was a real person, and that his partner and friend Dr Watson wrote and published stories about their adventures, inventing touches such as the pipe and deerstalker cap and placing their office opposite 221 Baker St in order to shield the real Holmes from gawkers.

But the rest of what goes on doesn't feel like it holds much in the way of stakes, and both the pacing and drama drag awfully.

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