Mr. Holmes

Sherlock on the Trail of his younger self

For me there will only really be one Sherlock Holmes and that is Jeremy Brett in the classic ITV series that ran during the 1980 and 1990s. He was superb in playing the character who lives life on a tightrope between genius and drug addiction, perhaps because he himself battled his own demons.

The current popular BBC version of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch I consider something of an abomination. The plots have been trimmed so much even the idiot child of Inspector Lestrade can see the feeble twists coming a mile off. What the shows lack in storyline the producers insist on compensating for with bizarre special effects and slow motion sequences – the whole thing is a desperate plea for the yoof vote. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be spinning in his grave.

At cinemas now is Mr Holmes, another reinvention of the franchise, but this time with Ian McKellen playing the lead role battling with senility in his old age. Those fans of the great detective hoping for a great murder mystery will be disappointed as the plot has more to do with Mr Holmes’ personal battles rather than his conflicts with criminals.

But the story has enough about it to keep you interested for 90 minutes as we find out why an aging, bee-loving Holmes, quit crime fighting for a quiet life on the picturesque Sussex coast. McKellen is superb, as you’d expect, and undergoes a fantastic aging process in the film so that it is impossible to know if the real him is the saggy-faced Mr Holmes or the tighter-skinned version of himself when he investigated his last mystery.

My only complaint would be the rather strained way a Japanese storyline is squeezed into the narrative to enable Mr Holmes to come full circle by the end of the film. There was also a bizarre cameo from Frances De La Tour as an eccentric music teacher who looked as if she had been ripped out of the Rising Damp set given a gypsy shawl and asked to learn her lines.

But for a Sherlock Holmes fan it was a pleasant way to spend an evening and I’m sure as a BBC production it will probably be on our television sets by Christmas.

Comments are closed.