Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) reunites with Ian McKellen who stars in the latest iteration of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character. Based on Mitch Cullin’s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, we meet the 93-year-old Holmes, long retired, but haunted by a 50-year-old case that he was never able to solve.
Now living on the Southeast coast of England, Holmes is cared for by housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney), a war widow, and her clever 10-year-old son Roger (an appealing Milo Parker). The cold case is revealed in flashbacks with McKellen effortlessly playing both 15 years younger than himself and the same character nearly 20 years older. A beautiful, troubled woman, an angry husband - Holmes' memory is no longer what it was and he must rely on amateur sleuth Roger to help him put the pieces together.
This Holmes is as irascible and unsentimental as ever, but more human too, and McKellen brings great grace and wit to the role. The film also features Hiroyuki Sanada as Mr. Umezaki, Holmes’ correspondent in Japan. Hattie Morahan and Patrick Kennedy play the bedeviled husband and wife from the past with Frances de la Tour as the wife’s eccentric teacher.