Mr.Holmes : A Movie Review

A Guest Review by Mogi (Calm)

Who is Sherlock Holmes according to everyone? He is a famous character, a great detective who solves crime by his impressive wit, intelligence, and focus. He also was envisioned as a man who smokes with a pipe and wear a deerstalker hat. Now that is the Sherlock Holmes we all know, a character. Or perhaps the Sherlock we all know is because Benedict Cumberbatch made a lot of raving fangirls who crave for more of his take on the character.

This film is NOT about the ‘character’, Sherlock Holmes.

This film is about the ‘person‘ who is Sherlock Holmes.

Mr Holmes starring Ian McKellen
Photo Credit: Artrix UK

Wondering what I’m getting here? Here, let me explain:

The film focuses on the elderly Sherlock Holmes, the very same person you all familiar with, only with a difference; it’s a take of him as a ‘real person’ who inspires the very ‘character’ of Sherlock Holmes we all knew. He doesn’t wear a deerstalker hat, he doesn’t smoke pipe, he does solve crimes, he is very wit and intelligent, everything here is a subtle take than the exagerration of the character we once knew. Its a very meta approach which puts Watson as the writer of all Sherlock cases that we’ve been exposed to (which is actually written by Sir Conan Doyle) but when writing in paper, fantasies and fiction are there to spice things up from reality. This film is about the reality; we are presented with Mr. Holmes in which instead of staying in-character, it develops around his character further.

The elderly Sherlock is in retirement, away from Baker Street, no more Watson, Mrs. Hudson, and anything else you knew. Here he is away from the town, living in a farmhouse mending the bees and honeys. He has been retired for about 30 after the last case. There he lives with Mrs. Munro and her son Roger. Roger is curious of how Sherlock does his things and eager to know what Sherlock is writing about his last case, a case which he himself writes, not much of fiction and exaggeration as what is dear Watson did in the old days. Sherlock has an issue however, his memory is fading, and he must finish up his writing before he dies or he’ll never be complete. Will he be able to finish writing his last case, what is the story behind it? Roger and Holmes grew closer like a student and mentor, not at solving crimes, but the usage of intellect. Its a mystery film as well, presented are three cases, Sherlock’s last case, what depopulates his bee farm, and why Sherlock went all the way to Japan?

An interesting reference to Sherlock’s character is that a film within a film about Sherlock Holmes dealing with his case, in which Sherlock himself watches it. For those who have watched ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’, there’s an interesting cameo if you can still juggle your memory and notice him. Don’t worry, his role is that obvious.

Though the main character may be an elderly man, which makes it hard to relate because most of us are young and not 92, we relate instead to Roger, a young boy whose curious about Sherlock and we learn the ways and the narrative of the story of how Sherlock came to be. Its an interesting framing of narrative which unlocks the mystery gradually from a perspective of a fresh young man over an experience elderly man.

The film is a story of redemption, we are presented of Mr. Holmes in his struggle to regain his memory and intelligent wit. He also wanted to atone his struggles of his last cases and desire to be the very man he was back then. Its not that depressing, it gives a lighter look in life.

The film is also meta referential between reality and fiction. As what mention, it compares these two to give a certain depth between expectation and facts. Its an interesting discussion that how much fiction can we live in to fool ourselves against the damned reality, but sometimes a bit of fictional exaggeration can be a very good thing. The same message we get from Tim Burton’s Big Fish. Lo may reality differs than what we expect, its better to believe in such fictional imagination and get on with it.

Personally, it gives me a refreshing take to explore a depth of character within a person as if real life, not much of this hollywood bullshit follow the formula, instead we are taken a trip of experience of a famous character like never before. A good 9 out of 10 would suffice, I left the cinema with satisfaction.

I rate this movie 9/10 overall.

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