Brow Beat

Ian McKellen Makes a Very, Very Good Old Sherlock Holmes

A new Sherlock Holmes movie is rarely surprising: Guinness World Records once deemed the detective history’s most portrayed literary character, with over 200 film and TV appearances by over 70 actors. Those actors each approached the character differently, but most played Holmes in his middle-aged prime. So whither old Sherlock? According to Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon, Holmes retires to a sleepy English town and takes to beekeeping, a delightful career coda that never gets screen treatment.  

Enter Sir Ian McKellen. In Mr. Holmes, the actor plays an ageing Sherlock befriended by his housekeeper’s son and consumed by one last mystery. The trailer makes the movie seem like by-the-numbers family fare, but the pitch-perfect casting is sure to redeem any cliché. After all, a septuagenarian Sherlock is just what we need.