Saturday, July 19, 2008
The Dark Knight
Stop reading this Blog if you do NOT want any spoilers – in fact stop reading this blog and head directly to a high quality digital theater with crystal clear surround sound; no – hold on a tick… go directly to your local IMAX theater for the full 70 foot tall Gotham City experience.
Simple answer – this film is worth it. It is the best film I’ve seen this year – not just the summer popcorn movie blitz that I usually ply you with Gentle Reader. This one is the real deal. I could gush more about the movie and bleed in four-color comic book for you but that’s all been done before; even, dare I say – believe it or not – right here at this blog.
No – let’s look at the film as just that; a film. Let’s just ignore the idea that it’s a “comic book” movie. Instead, consider approaching this film like it is a psychological crime drama with excellent characterization and an actual coherent plot. Imagine that. The film is an exploration of both the truth (and our perception or it) and individuals having limits verses individuals without them.
The Joker is devoid of anything that resembles a conscience. He is a sociopath; an agent of chaos; he has no limits and that is just the way he likes it. The Batman for all his issues at his core – his heart of hearts – he does not want to see anyone hurt the way that he was and in defending this personal code of ethics the words DO NOT MURDER are at the top of his list. The Joker has no such limit, no such internal regulation. There is a certain symbiotic nature to their relationship. The Joker sees it first. He knows that they are both damaged goods when he says, “To them (the public) you’re just a freak… Like me!” He knows the limits of the Batman and he wants to test those limits – repeatedly, and this testing includes a high body count.
Let’s discuss acting. What a cast. Christopher Nolan has assembled a wonderful cast to bring the Dark Knight to the screen. Christian Bale is the best Batman who has ever donned the body armor and cowl. Could there be a better Alfred than Michael Caine? Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox the head of Wayne’s Enterprises and the designer of Batman’s arsenal. Maggie Gyllenhaal is Rachel Dawes this time out; last time Katie Holmes and she didn’t reprise her role this time out. Who knows why? I really dig Gyllenhaal though – good choice. Gary Oldman is Lieutenant and then Commissioner Gordon. Man, I really loved the scenes with Oldman. His Gordon is fair, hardnosed and smart – just like in the comic books. Imagine that. Aaron Eckhart as the tragic Harvey Dent (Two-Face). And then there is Heath Ledger. By now you have heard the hype concerning Heath Ledger and his last roll? BELIEVE IT. It’s bitter sweet since it is the last time that Mr. Ledger will play the role due, of course to his tragic demise. Now I love Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson as much as the next fan boy but the Joker has now been embodied in the person of Mr. Heath Ledger. If he does not receive the posthumous Oscar nod for Best Actor the Academy Awards should be boycotted. Seriously. In an early scene in the film the Joker introduces himself to the crime bosses of Gotham City – in an instant he sets the tone for the entire film; he establishes just who the Joker is and what he is capable of doing. Unreal. Watching Ledger embody this character is unforgettable. His performance is that good. From now on it will always be his part – his role. No doubt.
“Do you wanna see a magic trick?” Go see The Dark Knight. Get a sitter if you have kids; this in not for them. It’s the definitive Batman on the big screen and it is not to be missed. Welcome the 900-pound gorilla, ladies and gentlemen. It’s worth the wait and all the Oscar nods it’s about to receive.
I’ll see you at the IMAX for that whole 70-foot Gotham City experience. It’s worth the ride.