My only imaginations about this film previous to seeing it, were simply based upon the fact the Ian Mckellen played Holmes. I really know very little about this particular film coming into it, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect.
Here we go:
The first thing that immediately catches one’s eye is the gorgeous cinematography. The landscapes, the colors, and the camera angles are picture perfect. The second thing one will notice is Ian Mckellen’s ability to become a decrepit, 93 year old man. Mckellen, despite his visage and age(76), has never appeared weak or feeble to me in any role that I’ve seen him play. This brilliant actor, has been headlining films like “The X-Men”, “The Hobbit”, and of course, “The Lord of the Rings”; and though he always plays the role of an elderly man, this is the first film in which I’ve viewed him as “old”.
I’m going to take a slightly different approach to this area of analysis. Rather than review the skill of acting, I’m going to see if I can show you, through the acting, the worldview of the film. Mckellen, who is obviously the main character(Sherlock Holmes), often wears haunted and disturbed expressions. He is a troubled old man but cannot remember why. Holmes, in this film is a far-away looker, and days-gone-by ponderer. But, he struggles, for the greatest mind for puzzles has met the greatest mental inhibition, dementia. Through the character of Mr. Holmes we see a worldview where the mortality of man becomes real. The effects of life bring great men to their knees, “O how the mighty have fallen”?
Acting- 9 of 10
To me, this story felt a lot like “Hugo”, the little clock-dwelling boy. It was slow moving, full of flash backs of all kinds, became a race against the past at one point, and ends with Hugo remembering, and finding a friend.
This story was sad in several ways. We hated to see Holmes in such a state, but the back story that lands him there is also sad. The only major issues I saw were the story’s contradictions of the original character of Holmes.
Now, the story already attempts to say that all the preconceived notions of Sherlock are derived from fairy tales in the books of John Watson. However, they do keep in tact most of Holmes important pieces. This is why I think they messed up with their biggest plot point.
Story- 4 of 10
Now, there was a young Holmes… Well, 60, and there was an old Holmes. The worldview of the young Holmes is as it should be: right/wrong, logic and the mind are the human’s most valuable assets. But, he cannot even stay true to that. In the same scene with his greatest logic he does something incredible unintelligent.
Multiple times we hear reference to a highly inappropriate instance that, until the end he is still upset about. Not much changed from old to new, the only major difference I found in the two Holmes is that one learned to let go. But, it’s unclear whether it was willpower or dementia that made him forget.
Worldview- 0 of 10
(Why? Because there’s no such thing as an almost good or a not so bad worldview; there is only a right and a wrong.)
This movie came very close to ruining Sherlock Holmes for me because it was nearly anti-Conan Doyle. Had the reasons not been so unfounded, had the circumstances not been outlandishly arranged, this may have been a more true telling. I didn’t like the fact that Watson, for all intensive purposes, was not in the film. Because of that, many evil things occurred. Holmes needs Watson like toast needs jelly, Watson makes Holmes a better man.
The message: you should do whatever it takes to save someone, at risk of virtue, honor, wisdom, and all else. Though in this instance, Holmes could’ve saved her the Holmes way and given her to the police… But, he isn’t really Holmes.
The message was about dwelling in the past, why it’s important for people to believe the right things about you. The message was legacy, and Holmes left the wrong one behind.
Message- 2 of 10
I enjoyed the movie once, you wouldn’t think it by the review though. I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. A word to the Holmes fans: it’s not what you’re expecting. I didn’t like it, I don’t think it had any real redeeming qualities. And… It’s flawed and warped worldview ends up becoming the dagger. For that reason alone, I don’t recommend you watch “Mr. Holmes”.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist