McKellen puts a whole new spin on Sherlock

Mr Holmes starring Sir Ian McKellen. Photo: PA Photo/Giles Keyte/Entertainment One

Mr Holmes starring Sir Ian McKellen. Photo: PA Photo/Giles Keyte/Entertainment One

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MR HOLMES (PG, 104 mins)

Drama/Romance. Ian McKellen, Milo Parker, Laura Linney. Director: Bill Condon.

Mr Holmes imagines the twilight years of one of literature’s icons, who is facing the grim reality of dementia with what remains of his once-glorious wit, aided by doses of a rare restorative plant from Japan called Prickly Ash.

This Sherlock, portrayed with dignity and steely resolve by Sir Ian McKellen, is no longer the aloof master of

deduction who famously traversed the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s imagination.

Instead, he tends bees on the Sussex coast, haunted by the one case he failed to solve - if only he could recall the facts.

The year is 1947 and Sherlock Holmes (McKellen), now 93, is a shadow of the brilliant logician, who once held court at 221b Baker Street flanked by Dr Watson (Colin Starkey) and Mrs Hudson (Sarah Crowden). Bill Condon’s slow-burning drama tests our little grey cells with a perplexing subplot: The Curious Case Of The Thrice Oscar-Nominated Actress And The Wayward Accent.

Plotting is pedestrian, allowing us plenty of time to marvel at the picturesque locations, including one breath-taking shot of the White Cliffs of Dover.

We’ll meet Holmes again, in many different guises, but few will be as heartbreakingly frail or haunting as this.