Mr. Holmes Blu-ray Review
The role of Sherlock Holmes is like Doctor Who, there have been a lot of people who’ve donned the attire and gotten in front of the camera. Of course with a literary legend like Sherlock Holmes, we’ve seen nearly every incarnation of the British detective. It’s a good rule of thumb to get a seasoned actor, but someone who’s young enough to star in multiple sequels if necessary. So we’re accustomed to a strapping young lad playing the detective, but this time the master sleuth is weathered and gray, played by Ian McKellen.
At 76, McKellen may never retire from the craft he’s perfected so well. MR. HOLMES is no different as we see the aged actor play the 93-year-old Holmes. Instead of solving deadly mysteries, he’s retired to a remote farmhouse. Living there is Mrs. Munro (Linney) and her son Rodger (Parker). While they provide a spark of entertainment for the old man, he’s left to his own thoughts, that are becoming too cloudy and far away to remember.
Holmes wishes to remember them because his ex-partner, Watson, has immortalized Holmes in a false, but not negative, light. Holmes wishes for people to remember the cases as they were, cut and dry. Holmes doesn’t like harrowing and riveting tales, like Robert Downey Jr. portrays in his Sherlock Holmes movies. McKellen’s Holmes believes the profound mystery that is life is far more entertaining than exaggerating the truth. So a lot of the movie is spent watching Holmes attempting to reminisce.
The case he’s trying to remember involves a woman that he believes may be trying to poison her husband. Other memories that slowly rise include a trip to Japan. Their link, like any good mystery, isn’t revealed until the end. Until that conclusion, Holmes develops a liking for the curious Rodger. Rodger aspires to do more in life. He doesn’t want to fall into his mother’s life as a working class individual confined to a dreary life. What stories Holmes can remember drives Rodger’s imagination to grander heights.
McKellen’s performance, much like his others as of late, are very visual. Those eyes of his tell more than any words he speaks ever could. The writing for MR. HOLMES isn’t slick or stylish, at least for a movie about Sherlock Holmes, but McKellen’s presence is undeniably magnetic. His performance is the best Sherlock Holmes performance I’ve ever seen. Linney and Parker are suitable sidekicks, as mom and son, since we are Watson-less.
The inevitable reason of why Holmes is pursuing memories in the hopes of writing his own book about his life is justifiable. We eventually learn why Watson did what he did and we learn why Holmes may or may not be ungrateful for the gesture. The movie is a bit long and takes a while to get to that conclusion, but if this was the last Sherlock Holmes adaptation to ever be made, which I highly doubt, it would be a very suitable final chapter in the character’s rich history. Just like Holmes wishes, the movie ends, not on a bang, but a humble message about life.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The countryside and dirty streets of Britain come through clearly on this blu-ray. The set designs are enveloped by the pristine picture quality.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The mixing of music, sound effects, and conversations is masterfully done on this blu-ray
MR. HOLMES: The Icon (2:21): A short piece that barely scratches the surface of this storied character. A useless, short feature.
MR. HOLMES: The Story (2:49): Another short feature that deals with the plot of this movie. Another feature that seems to short for the content it has to talk about at its disposal.