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Mr. Holmes returns

BY ALEC GLUESING | JULY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sherlock Holmes, a fixture in British literature and popular culture, burst back into the international spotlight with 2009’s Guy Ritchie action film starring a fresh-off Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. in the title role.

In 2010, BBC presented Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes in “Sherlock,” a critically acclaimed modern reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character. A sequel to the 2009 Downey film released in 2011, and a New York-set American television interpretation featuring a female Watson, “Elementary,” followed in 2012.

All three of these new Holmes productions have received positive critical and audience reception, but viewers may feel fatigued by the notion of yet another modern film adaptation of the character. Reboots and remakes are all the rage in today’s film and television landscape — but how many Sherlock Holmes stories are left to be retold?

Mr. Holmes may prove to be a refreshing take on the detective.

Based on author Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Mr. Holmes stars Sir Ian McKellen as an elderly, retired Holmes in 1947. The former detective returns from a trip to Hiroshima, troubled both by the destruction he has seen and by his deteriorating memory. With the help of a restorative plant supplement, his housekeeper and her son, Holmes attempts to revisit the mysterious details of his final case, left unsolved before his retirement.

Critical reviews of the film thus far have largely been positive, painting Mr. Holmes as more of a character study than a traditional detective story. American audiences are likely most familiar with Ian McKellen through his blockbuster franchise work on X-Men and The Hobbit, so Mr. Holmes could prove to be a real treat for McKellen fans looking for a more character-driven performance.


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