Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A study in senility

Mr Holmes is an acting master class, not just from Ian McKellen, as you might expect (and of course Laura Linney is just superb in her understated acting), but also from the young man on whom much of the film is focussed. Watch Milo Parker in years to come: he shows extraordinary depth in this film.

The film slowly patches together the story of what happened in Holmes' last case and subtly affirms the idea that he was a real person. We switch from a post war Holmes with increasing senility and a far younger one trying to solve a case. Prompted by his young 'Watson' and a few bees, Holmes gradually recovers the whole story and resolution to the mystery. A slow gentle film that will intrigue you.

The language in this film is a treat. Frankly I could have enjoyed the film just for the way in McKellen wraps his lips around the precise words he utters. Slowly, word by word, we see him tell the story as the fragments begin to reappear and coalesce in his mind.

Words are very, very important to a leader. A misplaced phrase here or an unwitting exaggeration there can neutralise what might be otherwise a strong set of ideas. We need words to express what we mean and the best leaders use words precisely to communicate their ideas, just as precisely. Words can blaze new directions and inspire new hope, new beginnings. The power of words should never be underestimated... Leaders should be poets.

How good is your wordcraft?


This is the ninety eighth of my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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