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MR. HOLMES STARRING IAN MCKELLEN

2015 rating: ***
Well it's not like God's name is used in vain here; SHERLOCK HOLMES creator/author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle isn't mentioned once in MR. HOLMES... For we're to believe that Watson actually did write all those books in his first-person perspective, and now the real guy... not Peter Cushing nor Robert Downey Jr... needs to get some things clear.

With the exception that he didn't wear that signature hat or smoke a pipe, the mystique of the crime-solving genius fully exists within an aged Ian McKellen who, despite a good performance, often seems too old for even the various flashbacks occurring before the mainline/present time: Holmes bonding with a serious little boy, the son of Laura Linney's put-upon maid who should really be a nurse given the her boss's waning health, retired at a rural farm with a penchant for beekeeping. And he's still got some fire in him. The last case involving a missing wife years earlier combines with a closer-to-the-present backstory about a trip to Japan, which is the least centered-on and not very interesting. At times you'll want to stick around longer with the slightly younger-older Holmes as he solves the dark, Noirish case on Baker Street but scenes with the boy trump everything. Meanwhile, despite the talent of Laura Linney to transform into her workaday English character, she remains peripheral throughout.

But it's how the movie is constructed that really works. Directed by Bill Condon, the scenes flow together in an arthouse, non-linear daydream as the talented actors glide along within the mellow cadence.
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