Mr. Holmes (Digital) (2015)

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Due Out for Sale 17-Dec-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 104:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bill Condon
Transmission Films Starring Ian MacKellan
Laura Linney
Milo Parker
Case ?
RPI ? Music Carter Burwell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English MPEG 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     So, we are trying something new with this review. For the first time we are reviewing the digital stream version of a new release film. Let's be realistic for a moment; regardless of how much things are promoted as 'high definition' this does not make them the equivalent of Blu-ray for a number of very important reasons. Firstly, high definition downloads and/or streams are generally speaking 1080i not 1080p and are at a lower bit rate than that achieved by a Blu-ray player connected with a good HDMI cable. I believe it is possible to illegally download a version taken from a Blu-ray, however, let's focus on what is possible legally. This film was provided as a stream in either standard definition or high definition. Both looked pretty good for what they are but are not the equivalent of Blu-ray. The high definition was certainly superior as you would expect. The other huge difference between streaming and Blu-ray is audio. Streams are generally in stereo (as was the case here) and even if they are not they are certainly not lossless. On the other hand, streams have their place for portability, ease of access and relatively low cost (sometimes!). So, we cannot expect to get the same quality in a stream but is it acceptable for viewing? Well, it really depends on your needs and the standard of your equipment. On a television where you don't have an amplifier and are not that worried about video quality you will be perfectly happy with these streams. However, if you are used to more and have a home theatre setup you will probably be disappointed. At this stage at least, streaming cannot replace Blu-ray. Regardless, let's talk about the movie in question, Mr. Holmes.

     This story concerns the famous detective Sherlock Holmes (Sir Ian MacKellen) however is not based on an Arthur Conan Doyle work. Rather this film is based on a novel called A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullen and is set in 1948, in the last years of Sherlock's life where he has retired to the coast near the white cliffs of Dover. It is 35 years since he retired after his last case did not resolve itself the way he expected. His old friend, Dr Watson, wrote a book based on the last case, however it was written as fiction and does not represent what really happened in the last case. Holmes is attempting to write down the story truthfully, however, his advancing years and the onset of dementia are making that task harder and harder. Living with him are his housekeeper, Mrs Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son, Roger (Milo Parker). Mrs Munro has no time for the challenges of her employer and longs to leave his employ and move away. On the other hand, Roger develops a friendship with the old man, learning about bee keeping and life from him. Woven into this setting are two flashbacks in Holmes' life, one being the last case from 35 years before and the other a trip he took to Japan attempting to find a cure for his dementia. The last case involves Mr and Mrs Kelmot. Mr Kelmot seeks out the help of the famous detective as he believes his wife has been acting strangely since having two miscarriages and starting lessons on the glass harmonica or armonica. He wants Holmes to work out what ails her and help him to solve the mystery of the change in her.

     This is a lovely, gentle and emotional film which explores not only what Sherlock Holmes would have been like toward the end of his life but also the impacts of old age on the body and mind. It was directed by Bill Condon, Oscar winning screenwriter for Gods and Monsters, who has directed a number of interesting films including Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate and Gods & Monsters. He also directed two instalments of the Twilight Saga but probably the less said about that the better. The acting is superb with Sir Ian MacKellen majestic as the aging Holmes, showing all the weaknesses and strengths of the character. Milo Parker is also marvellous as the young boy, Roger. Their relationship is the core of this film. The cinematography is also beautiful and the film gets and holds your attention.

     Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


     This video looked surprisingly good on this HD stream. It was clear and quite sharp and the colours were very good. There was some chroma noise at times and a little macro blocking but otherwise it looked good. It was 2.35:1 and 1080i.

     There were no subtitles available.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio available was in stereo. The dialogue was clear and generally easy to understand, however, the rest of the soundtrack was a little flat compared to what we are used to on disc formats. The music by Carter Burwell sounded quite good without filling the soundstage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras as you would expect.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    No comparison possible.


    A wonderful story about the aging Sherlock Holmes featuring great acting performances.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is average.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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