Mr. Holmes (PG) ***


Fresh approaches to old film characters are hit and miss affairs. Superb acting by the participants in EOne Entertainment’s Mr. Holmes are certainly worthy of your consideration . Fit for all ages this quirky little drama plays out like an uncanny offbeat biographical sketch, now zeroing in on audiences at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas in downtown Vancouver.

Like the title suggests, Mr. Holmes is all about the life of one Sherlock Holmes. Cast as this iconic super sleuth is graceful actor Sir Ian McKellen (X-Men). No slouch as a thespian McKellen goes under lots of make-up changes as he portrays the aging detective now relegated to the countryside as a “kept” man. Age has a way of creeping up on you and our intellectual giant takes on one last case while in the care of a not so happy live-in maid and her ever curious small son.

American actress Laura Linney (Absolute Power) is effective as Mrs. Munro, a dour make-shift nurse who isn’t a happy camper looking after this aging cantankerous lost soul while her son Roger and his pent-ip thirst for knowledge is well soaked up by Milo Parker ( Robot Overlords) whose enthusiasm really steals this movie. Slow and steady wins most races and classy director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) does do justice to this famed character penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Let’s be serious. The odds of anyone being able to surpass the abilities of Basil Rathbone as Holmes are about as likely as anyone being able to upstage Sean Connery as James Bond – not going to happen. Still Ian McKellen gets top marks for giving gravitas to an aging super sleuth who for 104 minutes will keep you fully engaged and quite intrigued.