We went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie last week. I was kind of tired so I may have not been into it but I didn’t like the movie as much as the first one. Still it was a good movie. Lots of action, engaging story line, clever banter between Holmes and Watson. It was entertaining.
I don’t think this is the Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve only read one or two of the original Sherlock Holmes stories and that was a long time ago but I don’t think Holmes was an action hero. No chase scenes, no gun fights, no explosions, no hand to hand combat – especially in slow motion. And I think the relationship between Holmes and Doctor Watson was different. Watson idolized Holmes. He kept a diary of the man’s exploits and the diary became the books we read. Holmes was standoffish. He had somewhat of a superior attitude. ‘Elementary, my dear Watson.’ I don’t know. Maybe I’m remembering the Basil Rathbone movies. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.
There’s one other thing that troubles me and that’s this Professor Moriarty. Maybe it’s the frustrated writer in me but here’s how I would play him. He would remain a shadowy figure, never quite real, only his presence felt, only the results of his devious schemes seen. Because Moriarty is not just a man. He is a prototype, a metaphor for Satan himself. I believe there is a real person, Satan, who wants to dominate, to defeat, to enslave. I have no question about that. But if we concentrate on him we miss the danger around us.
For the danger is not just that one person. It is an attitude, a point of view, a way of thinking. We want to blame Satan but the truth is his raw material is in us. His work is to activate it. Wrath, envy, hatred, pride, jealousy. The potential for evil that is buried in us must remain buried. If we give ground he takes more and we find ourselves defending instead of attacking, retreating, running out of room to maneuver, until we are defeated.
Moriarty is among us. We enter a room and we know he’s been there. We pass on the street and we sense his passing. We must be aware and alert. For he is subtle. And he is patient.