In Cinemas: 'Mr Holmes' (2015) + 'The Look Of Silence' (2014)
The latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes sees Sir Ian McKellan take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic literary figure in a story which tackles "Holmes, the myth" as much as it does "Holmes, the man". 'Mr Holmes' (★★½, 5/10) is told from the perspective of an ageing Holmes, whose deductive skills still remain a cut above but whose memory is failing him. He seeks to uncover the truth of his last case, which has led to a decades-long self-imposed exile.
Holmes is now looked after by housekeeper Laura Linney, and befriends her inquisitive son Milo Parker in a quest to jog his memory. Bill Condon's tale is told in flashback, which feels somewhat unnecessary, lending a haze to the film which it struggles to shake off. McKellen remains on strong form throughout, malleable enough to be believable in both senile and sleuth-driven forms, but much of the rest of 'Mr Holmes' feels like it's merely going through the motions.
Joshua Oppenheimer's 2013 'The Act Of Killing' was one of the most striking and acclaimed documentaries of recent times, as he vividly recreated the slaughter of Indonesian dissidents in the 1960s, engaging the seemingly unrepentant murderers in roleplay. He adopts a similar approach in his follow-up 'The Look Of Silence' (★★★★½), albeit wisely dropping the more surreal aspects for something altogether more intimate and challenging.
This time focussing on a family who suffered personal loss at the hands of their neighbours, 'The Look Of Silence' becomes so much more powerful than its predecessor. The quest for justice or even an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and remorse is no more satisfying than 'The Act Of Killing' - indeed, it is arguably more frustrating in this follow-up. The anguish at its heart is haunting, reflected even in the end credits, where most of the crew are listed as anonymous for fear of reprisal.
At Home: 'Selma' + 'It Follows'
Unfortunately, English actor David Oyelowo was overlooked for an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor earlier this year. His work in 'Selma', out now in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray, suggests he was unfortunate to miss out. Portraying Martin Luther King with a stirring dignity and passion, Ava DuVernay's biopic may have tended toward the overly dramatic on occasion, but equally captured a racial tension that still resonates today.
Out next week is 'It Follows', a horror film that operates on a similar premise - there's something sinister out there, and it won't stop coming after you. Channeling John Carpenter's finest offerings, both in terms of Disasterpeace's ominous soundtrack and writer-director David Robert Mitchell's ability to create an unsettling atmosphere, this is a film that benefits from knowing as little as possible before viewing.
TV & Movie News
Composer James Horner sadly died this week, in a plane crash. He scored dozens a films across an illustrious career, including diverse personal faves such as 'Commando' and 'Jumanji'. USA Today reflects on his back catalogue.
'Heroes' is making a comeback later this year as 'Heroes Reborn', with some of the original cast returning. Here's the latest trailer, which is oddly reminiscent of 'Where Is The Love?' by Black Eyed Peas. Maybe Justin Timberlake will turn up in this too:
Young Londoner Tom Holland ('The Impossible', 'Wolf Hall') has been cast as the new Spider-Man, while Jon Watts will be helming the 2017 standalone Marvel film.
More of an oldie, but with Paul Feig's female-led 'Ghostbusters' reboot currently shooting, 'Chronicle' writer Max Landis' treatment for a sequel is well worth a revisit.
Read previous On Camera columns here. Drop us a line at film(at)fadedglamour.co.uk if you have something you think might be worth featuring in a future column.