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Laramie Movie Scope:
Mr. Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes psychological drama

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 23, 2015 -- Most Sherlock Holmes stories depict the great detective as somewhat of an emotionally stunted, almost autistic, savant. In this film (based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind”) Holmes is a lot more human. He's near the end of his life, dealing with senility and wracked by self-doubt and regrets about the smug, high-handed way he has treated others in the past.

Ian McKellen (of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films) plays a retired Holmes, over 90 years old, who has outlived all his contemporaries. He has lived to see the birth of the atomic age and the terrible aftermath of Hiroshima. Something about one of the stories about him, written by Watson, bothers him. The story has a happy ending that paints Holmes as the hero, but this doesn't seem right. This was Holmes' final case and something about it wounded him so deeply that he retired from detective work.

This case, 30 years earlier, involved an unhappy wife, Ann Kelmot (played by Hattie Morahan of “The Bank Job”) who Holmes followed at the request of her unhappy husband, Thomas (Patrick Kennedy of “The November Man”). It turns out that Ann Kelmot led Holmes on a chase filled with elaborate deceptions, which did not fool Holmes. But Holmes is deeply affected by his interaction with Ann Kelmot and what happened right after their encounter.

At about the same time as his last case, Holmes was approached by another man, Masuo Umezaki, who was also seeking answers from Holmes. 30 years later, Holmes is approached by Umezaki's son, Tamiki Umezaki (of “The Wolverine”) who offers him access to a plant which may help with his senility. Holmes visits Tamiki Umezaki in Japan (where he sees the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb) seeking an herbal remedy for his senility. Holmes has more regrets when he finds out Tamiki Umezaki wants answers about his father's meeting with him long ago.

Holmes tries to remember what happened in these cases years ago, but his memory is failing, despite those Japanese herbal treatments, along with royal jelly from his apiary. Roger (Milo Parker of “Robot Overlords”) the young son of his housemaid, Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney of “Hyde Park on Hudson”) helps Holmes tend to his apiary, and also helps him with his memory. A very bright boy, Roger is like a young Sherlock. Roger's mother is not happy with Holmes' influence over her son and wants to take a job elsewhere.

Despite the talent and experience of McKellen and Linney, young actor Milo Parker steals the show in nearly every scene he is in. He and McKellen are both great in their scenes together. The friendship that develops between Holmes and Roger is what makes this movie work. There is a healing process that takes place in this movie as Holmes comes to terms with himself and his past. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2015 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

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