It might seem like there are already too many versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective, Sherlock Holmes, either currently on the small screen (Sherlock, Elementary) or featured recently on the big screen (Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies). However, what distinguishes the upcoming Mr. Holmes from its peers is that it deals with a very different sort of Sherlock – a 93-year old version (played by Sir Ian McKellen), who has long since retired from the life of a crime-solver.
The first trailer released for Mr. Holmes, which has been embedded above, likewise suggests the film is a far cry from the more action-packed and/or whimsical Sherlock adaptations released in recent years. Mr. Holmes instead appears to fit the mold of a high-minded biographical drama (albeit, one about a fictional character), as it deals with such themes as the aging process and how people reflect upon their past – seen through the eyes of Sherlock Holmes in the year 1947, that is.
Mr. Holmes is based on the 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind” by Mitch Cullin and was co-written by Jeffrey Hatcher (The Dutchess) and the film’s director, Bill Condon. The latter previously worked alongside McKellen on Gods and Monsters: an Oscar-winning biopic about real-life filmmaker James Whale that, similar to Mr. Holmes, was about an elderly protagonist looking back on their life.
That certainly bodes well for the actor/director reunion on Mr. Holmes, as its tells the story of how Holmes tries to crack a case that he never solved from years back – even as his mind and body continue to deteriorate, in the present.
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Rounding out the cast for Mr. Holmes are Laura Linney (who worked alongside Condon on the biopic Kinsey) as Mrs. Munro – the housekeeper for Holmes’ Sussex countryside estate – and young Milo as the latter’s son, Roger, who keeps Holmes company in the film’s present.
The combination of the movie’s premise and casting, together with what appears to be pleasing cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler (Lone Survivor) and lovely period production design by Martin Childs (Shakespeare in Love, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), is quite enough to keep us interested in seeing Mr. Holmes on the big screen. It might not rank so high as this year’s slate of tentpoles, but Mr. Holmes has real potential as a clever twist on the Sherlock myth.
Mr. Holmes opens in U.K. theaters on June 19th, 2015. It will make its way to the U.S. sometime later this year.
Source: BBC Films