As a crime story lover, I'm delighted to say that Ian McKellen nails the popular role of Sherlock Holmes. Indeed, Mr. Holmes could be grouped alongside Basil Rathbone's iconic showcase. Although Guy Ritchie fans might demand more action, patience proves its own reward.
Inevitably, such deductive genius made Holmes a literary phenomenon. Immortalized in the prose of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he spotted clues no one else could. This made all the difference between finding the culprit and getting stuck with an unsolved mystery.
Interestingly, when Rathbone played Holmes, there was Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) to offer assistance. Strangely, Mr. Holmes rarely shows us this trusty compatriot. It might be the only quibble I have regarding Bill Condon's exemplary production.
Meanwhile, the film ponders such topics as loneliness and memory as Condon peels away the layers of fiction, half-truth and legend. It's a bold, original move which celebrates this tremendous character.
Like his work in Gods and Monsters, McKellen excels under the tutelage of a superb artist. If nothing more can be said or written about Mr. Holmes, one fact remains: it's beautifully crafted. (Capsule review)
(Released by Roadside Attractions and rated "PG" for thematic elements, some disturbing images and incidental smoking.)