Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, there are a number of intriguing films screening at the Berlin Film Festival this year. Terrence Malick's “Knight of Cups” with Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett will drop there along with Wim Wenders' “Everything Will Be Fine” (James Franco), Werner Herzog's “Queen of the Desert” (Nicole Kidman and James Franco again), Anton Corbijn's “Life” (Dane DeHaan, Robert Pattinson), Simon Curtis' “Woman in Gold” (Ryan Reynolds, Helen Mirren), Andrew Haigh's “45 Years,” Isabel Coixet's “Nobody Wants The Night” and even, yes, Kenneth Branagh's “Cinderella” are on most cinephiles' radars.
(Well, maybe not the latter, but, hey! A Disney movie willing to be in competition! That's no small feat!)
One other film that is getting an unexpected early debut is Bill Condon's “Mr. Holmes,” a drama which reunites the Oscar winner with his “Gods and Monsters” star Ian McKellen. Based on the 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” “Mr. Holmes” finds a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes living in the English countryside with his housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her son (Milo Parker). As he deals with the deterioration of his once great mind, the famed detective is preoccupied by one unsolved murder. Can he finally make peace with his life if he is unable to solve it?
Independently financed, Roadside Attractions is releasing “Mr. Holmes” in the U.S. and it will likely get a fall release (still technically TBD). Why, you might ask? Just watching the first clip from the movie, which is embedded at the top of this post, tells you why. At 75, McKellen might not get many more chances at the big awards season dance and his old friend may have given the two-time Academy Award nominee his best shot at a nod in years. We'll know more after the first reviews hit, but everyone's favorite Gandalf deserves one more chance at Oscar gold, doesn't he?
“Mr. Holmes” premieres on Sun. Feb. 8.