Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Dark Knight: Remarkable


With this instalment of this generation's series of Batman, director Christopher Nolan leaves us with a dark exploration of human nature.

The movie The Dark Knight actually begins where Batman Begins ended. While the most notorious criminals of Gotham City are trying to kill Batman, a man known as the Joker comes up with a plan to make Batman history. His plan: give Batman an ultimatum to publicly unmask himself and therefore, stop assisting the police led by commissioner James Gordon and Gotham City's newly elected District Attorney, Harvey Dent. However, if Batman doesn't meet the Joker's demands, any given citizen will die per day.

While The Dark Knight begins on a rather interesting note, the movie fights its way through with a few long periods here and there before we come to the moment when the action begins. This means that the movie is unfortunately filled with some useless subplots (talking about Bruce Wayne's life as a business man) that don't necessarily drift us away from the storyline; instead these subplots in question don't manage to be interesting.

However, one may admit that as opposed to Batman Begins, this instalment of the series has a less long periods. Thus, this obviously allows Nolan to get to the story's point without necessarily taking the time to introduce us to the characters.

With such a great margin of manoeuvre for Nolan and his team, we're left with characters that are less bland. Therefore, this allows the movie to actually explore human nature through the characters by surprisingly putting up to date some key characters. For instance, when it comes to dealing with Harvey Dent/Two-Face, the scriptwriters did a great job by deviating from what we saw in the comic books or the animated series. Dent (who doesn't have multiple personalities, this time) embodies an ideal to get rid of virtually all criminals in Gotham City. However, as time goes by, Dent gradually loses faith in his ideal after an accident while Batman and Gordon keep the course. Despite not being a film d'auteur, the film offers a good reflexion: should we follow the law to fight crime or do what we deem necessary?

Without being too philosophical, The Dark Knight is the darkest and the most multi-dimensional hero movie one is likely to see for the characters offer in depth variable answers to the question at the centre of the story.

Speaking about the cast's performance, Heath Ledger's (Brokeback Mountain) performance is top-notch. Obviously, Ledger's Joker (who is far from the one played by Jack Nicholson) is a cross-over between the Joker voiced by Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) in Batman the Animated Series who sees crime as his sandlot and a psychopath. His haunting performance shows us that he can inhabit his character. While Ledger surprises us, we can say that the rest of the cast is quite good despite opting for a sober and modest interpretation of their characters.

Finally, anyone who never read the comic books or saw the animated series can still appreciate this movie. In fact, with this movie not only Nolan push the character's development further, but he also finds a way to extricate from the actors a hell of a performance for the sake of the movie's reflexion, especially from Heath Ledger. Nonetheless, while you're still at the beginning of the film, just be patient, because after the action starts, no minute is wasted.

Rating: 4.5/5


***

USA (2008)
Length: 152 minutes
Genre: Crime thriller
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman and Maggie Gyllenhaal

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