The Real Mr Holmes?

There is no mistaking the idea of this remarkably poised gentleman- the embodiment of eyes and mind which are at once curious and brimming with intelligence. Every private detective thence imagined or conceived has been either a reflection of him or the exact opposite of everything he represents (think Hercule Poirot). It is therefore, safe to presume that all minds and bodies reflecting a skyrocketing IQ, adopting a thoroughly pragmatic approach towards life, upholding science and law as the only acceptable methods of perception while discarding all attachment and emotion, are by every means ‘Sherlockian’.

Many of us who have scoured Sir Doyle’s masterpiece deeply enough to become self proclaimed masters in ‘Sherlockianism’ are aware that the unmistakably alluring, intellectually renowned sleuth poised with the deerstalker and the pipe is a fiction within a fiction; a person fictionalised for added glamour, due to his utter disinterest in society. In every version of the sleuth created up until now, Sherlock has been fictionalised, if not in a similar fashion, but enough to retain the fictional nature of his person. In other words, none of his portrayals were real enough. No, not even in the 21st century rendition as the postmodern intelligible consulting detective cracking hyper-glamorised cases at the speed of sound.

However, in the year 2015, the much celebrated detective finally stepped out of the pages and reels of rigourous investigation, into a world where every second crawls into minutes colliding into one another to form hours that conceive days that operate at a perceivable pace. In an era when capturing a dew drop wetting a blade of grass is possible, and a cat cares no more than to fill its belly and scratch it thereafter in playful mirth. In the age of governments and corrupt officials being both at once a distant and horrific reality.

When ‘elementary’ is truly simplicity, not a dramatic conception of an imagined series of events.

In 2015, Mr Holmes came in the flesh, not as a suave, sleek, slim, and chiseled detective constantly on his feet, but as an aged loner struggling to embrace a condition which is so unlike his character- dementia. He’s not so much the iconic, legendary, go-getter as a tired old man struggling to retrace his steps into the past that somehow crawls it’s way into his insignificant present. He winces, shudders, even cowers- no sign of the bravado we are used to when we revisit Sir Doyle’s version or take delight in the modern digital adaptations over a tub of popcorn. No rapidly piling cases or comedic sequences, no Moriarty chasing his wits or resurrecting to haunt him, no budding romance between him and Irene or Watson in the movies, no Mycroft shielding him in spite of his eccentricities.

Then what?

“Mr Holmes” is simply a story about the detective shedding his pragmatic front to excavate his forgotten past. In perhaps the most elegant manner of screenwriting ever seen in cinema, it shows us how fiction can be remarkably different from reality. “The woman in Grey” is not a damsel in danger, but a victim of the circumstances imposed upon her. For once, Sherlock sees her as a woman compelled to make the decisions she makes, and not a cog in the chain of events initiated by her or any ‘perpetrator’ for that matter.

And yet, Mr Holmes is as Sherlock as Sherlock can be. When Roger suffers from the terrible attack of the bees in the backyard, he pushes his weeping grey cells into the ‘mind palace’ to put together pieces of evidence that help him retrace the actual cause that led to the attack. Although pinched by the guilt of cultivating within Roger the habit of catering to the apiary, Sherlock gathers every bit of courage to prove that the attack was anything but the fault of the bees that both he and Roger breed. Peace is finally restored when the cause is confirmed- an attack by the wasps, not the bees- and yet again, Sherlock becomes the ‘accidental’ and unlikely saviour with a heart of Iron.

A man with a heart, nevertheless, and this is what makes “Mr Holmes” the only rendition one can relate to. A man with a mind equal to no other but not one that is capable of no emotional connection.