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Mr Holmes


Stars: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hattie Morahan, Roger Allam, Philip Davis, Frances de la Tour, Hiroyuki Sanada, Patrick Kennedy, John Sessions

Director: Bill Condon

This drama about an aged Sherlock Holmes revisiting his last case is a character study rather than a detective story and perhaps the poorer for it - although McKellen's many fans will relish the chance to see the old thespian in full pomp under his 93-year-old makeup; in fact he has more trouble looking 58 in the 35-years-earlier flashbacks.

The main story borders on tedium at times, although its portrait of old age and the onset of Alzheimer's is a sympathetic and observant one. Holmes has retired to the Kent coast to tend to his bees, his only two-legged companions being his housekeeper (America's Linney with a flawless English regional accent) and her sharp-tongued 10-year-old (Parker), whom Holmes initiates into the ways of the bees.

But the great man is still haunted by the memory (and sometimes the lack of it) of his final case, in which a young wife (Morahan), herself haunted by two miscarriages, is giving her husband (Kennedy) cause for concern.

Timelines are a but wobbly here and there, and a subplot concerning a Japanese friend barely present, but the case and its characters have just enough about them to keep us watching. Besides which, there's always the marvellous countryside photography by Thomas A Schliesser to admire.

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: EntertainmentOne. Colour by Panalux.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Jun 2015