When you think Sherlock Holmes, you think mystery. The twist here is that the mystery comes from the degrading memory of a 93-year-old Holmes, struggling to remember the final case that went so awry that it sent him into retirement.
The way the case memories resurface in flashback is well handled, doled out in tiny measure. The second set of flashbacks, to a few months prior, are less pleasing: yes, they add weight to the memory issues, and set up something for the denouement, but otherwise I found it a somewhat weak and distracting subplot.
Not quite as disastrous, however, as the character of Holmes’ housekeeper’s (Laura Linney) and her duo of baffled and disappointed expressions. Her motivation for these emotions through the piece is somewhat muddy, with a clanky piece of exposition offering a supposed justification thicker than her accent.
Thankfully, Ian McKellen is on super form with the performance of a grumpy, nonagenarian, former sleuth. Likewise, young Milo Parker is not just un-annoying (my key want in a child performer) but really shines in his role as the housekeeper’s son who befriends Holmes.
Overall, it was a (bitter) sweet kind of a movie, with all the heartbreak of watching the ravages of age while at the same time looking at the ‘reality’ of a fictional hero, after the stories are finished.
Released: 19th June 2015
Running time: 104 minutes
My rating: 6/10