Sherlock Holmes, a Modern Detective

I watched Sherlock Holmes the other night. It wasn’t surprised me though, but i liked it. I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels about this character maybe 8, 9 years ago. But i still can remember almost exactly how and who Sherlock Holmes was.

Holmes with the help of his lifetime partner Watson solved a 5 young girls murder case conducted by Lord Blackwood. The murder looked like a practice of dark magic, using the girls as sacrifices in a certain ritual. Lord Blackwood was sentenced to death by the court. Watson declared that Lord Blackwood had died that day, but three days latter he walked out of his grave and then murdered 3 more people including his own father, which was the leader of the Order. This particular Order member was also an influencing members of the  Parliament. It turned out to be Lord Blackwood wished to be the leader of the Order, and then he would kill the Parliament members other than the Order members by using his dark magic as the proof of his power. But the murder of Parliament member did not happen.

Holmes with the help of Irene Adler, his long beloved one, and of course Watson, ruined Blackwood’s plan. They found out that Blackwood used scientific methods instead of black magic. This conclusion were deduced from the clues they found during their investigations on the murders. First murder led Holmes and Watson to a laboratory belonged to the victim. There were several experiments’ left outs and chemicals that gave Holmes the clue how Blackwood resurrected himself. The tomb was already broken, and it was put together by a mix of honey and egg, so it was easy for Blackwood to break out the tomb.

The second murder, Blackwood’s father. He was drowned in the bathtub. Blackwood had Reordan (his scientist) to find a paralytic that was activated by the combination of copper and water. Blackwood’s father’s bathtub was made of copper. The third murder was Thomas Standish. He was sprayed by flammable liquid that was triggered by a spark from the gun that was prepared by Blackwood. And the last attempted murder at the Parliament building. Blackwood had created a chemical weapon made of cyanide and refined in swine belly. He gave his ally in the parliament the antidote so when he used the chemical weapon, they would all safe.

Overall, it was a scientific solution over a seemingly superstitious case. Holmes used logic and reason instead of superstitious, He used deductive reasoning instead of inductive reasoning.  The former reasoning works from the more general to the more specific.  Holmes began with thinking up a theory then narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that He could test. He narrowed down even further when he collected observations to address the hypotheses. This ultimately led him to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data — a confirmation (or not) of his original theories.

Both reasonings; deductive and inductive were used in scientific method. This method was developed during the period of modernity. This period was characterized by individualism, literacy and the patriarchal nuclear family, and Enlightenment, with its emphasis upon rationality, faith in human progress, the development of scientific method. This period began to emerge as early as the sixteenth century, with the expansion of international trade, the urbanization of  the peasant population of Europe, and a steady rise in literacy. Modernity era was ended around 1945 as the Post-modernity broke-through. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first Sherlock Holmes in 1887 and the last in 1915; the years that belonged to modernity. His detective was a modern man; one modern, logic scientific, deductive detective.

What i like about this movie is that, it could stepped out of the previous depiction of Holmes, especially in terms of his appearance. Ritchie, the director, maintained the smokingpipe, with somehow different shape, but he left the hat and the coat. To me, this Holmes is a whole new Sherlock Holmes. This Holmes is not just modern, but he is sophisticated as well. He’s a today detective who solve today’s case in a far off time. It’s like Ethan Hunt solving case in Mission Impossible only the time is not today, and without any modern gadget. This Holmes’ gadget was his reasoning and scientific method. A modern Detective indeed.


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