We’ve seen Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes on screen dozens of times in myriad different forms; from Billy Wilder‘s “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes,” to Guy Ritchie‘s more “Maxim”-friendly versions with Robert Downey Jr., to the comedic “Without A Clue” in 1988 with Ben Kingsley (to name a few). But never have we seen Holmes retired and in the winter of his life. Is that interesting? It is a movie? We kind of had our doubts, but Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes” premiered in Berlin this past February and it turns out it’s pretty damn good (here’s our review). Maybe it has to do something with the excellent lead actor: Ian McKellen who apparently puts in a terrific performance.
Here’s the longform synopsis released during Berlin:
England in 1947. The famous detective Sherlock Holmes, now 93 years old, lives in his Sussex country house. When he goes to the cinema and sees a film about himself, he mostly shakes his head. For much of what he is purported to have done in the heroic stories has simply been made up. He never wore the legendary hat and, rather than the pipe, he always preferred a cigarette. Long since retired, he steers clear of people and dedicates himself chiefly to bee-keeping. The only people he suffers to be around him are housekeeper Mrs. Munro and her small son Roger, whom Holmes is initiating into the secrets of apiculture. But sometimes his thoughts are beset by old cases. What really went on with the mysterious Ann Kelmot, whom he shadowed at her husband’s behest? And what connects him to the Umezaki family, who have invited him to Japan? Holmes undertakes one final big journey, experiences a botanical miracle and resolves to tell a compassionate lie… Freely adapted from Mitch Cullin’s novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” Bill Condon’s film reflects upon the interplay between truth and legend, age and memory, unresolved guilt and the chance to finally make peace with oneself.
Bill Condon had a pretty bad run there with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2” and “The Fifth Estate,” but apparently redemption has been earned so good on ‘em. Co-starring Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, “Mr. Holmes” has no release date, but Miramax (yes, they still apparently exist in smaller forms), partnering with Roadside Attractions, will release the film stateside later this year. Watch the first trailer for the film below.