Over the years there have been numerous adaptations of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And some adaptations deserve more credit than others, and some adaptations are indeed more popular than others. But one of the older versions of the stories of Sherlock Holmes that deserves recognition is one that did not even come from the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Based on the book by Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan), came “The Seven Percent Solution”.
Unlike many other Sherlock Holmes stories, this particular tale attempts to address one of the greatest flaws of what could arguably be called fiction’s greatest detective. His drug addiction, mostly regarding cocaine.
In the story, Holmes his addiction reaches new lows. So his colleague Dr. Watson and Holmes go to Vienna for consultation from one of his peers. The acclaimed psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. Together, the three of them, while attempting to aid Holmes in his drug addiction. Holmes attempts to help Freud solve a mystery regarding one of his patients.
Right off the bat, what actually makes this movie interesting is that this is primarily a story about Sherlock Holmes himself. Where as other Sherlock Holmes stories or other person’s stories with Holmes happening to be in it. It’s one that actually attempts to further explore the motivations and personality of the hero moviegoers have known for decades.
No why is this story so important? Because some of the more recent adaptations of Sherlock Holmes do not necessarily address his drug issue as a problem, and indeed a couple adaptations even show it as a superpower. Attempting to glorify the horrible things Holmes does to his body to alleviate the boredom.
We primarily see this in both the Robert Downey Jr. 2009 version, as well as the BBC series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. But as far as recent adaptations are concerned, the only one that ever really shows homes is addiction as a real problem, is the CBS series “Elementary” with Johnny Lee Miller in the part.
And this is a real issue that translates into today’s society. Another famous adaptation based off of Sherlock Holmes loosely, was the fictional Dr. Gregory House played by Hugh Laurie. From the TV show “House”. Showing his drug problems with an almost lightheartedness to the point where we are OK with him indulging in these narcotics. Not really issuing how much of a problem it really is.
In this bold attempt to see Holmes in a new light, this story dares to go where most versions today won’t dare go.