One approached another film on the Sherlock Holmes bandwagon with a certain tentativeness. Yet this wonderfully calm meditation on memory, reality, story, facts and fiction exerts an entrancement. The adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s novel set after World War 2 about a famous but ageing retired detective (Ian McKellen), minus deerstalker (an embellishment of John Watson’s fantasy, we learn), tasked with surviving his amnaesiac episodes in the company of a housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her aspirational son (Milo Parker), is served up with knowing nods and gentle reminders. Past and present coalesce in a story which manages to confect Hiroshima and a thirty-year old mystery that haunts an old man desperately trying to remember people’s names while they stand in front of him. Masterful achievement by Bill Condon, who previously directed his star in the brilliant Gods and Monsters.