August 2, 2008

Watching the world burn

Best. Superhero movie. Ever.

Christopher Nolan has done it again, even upping the ante. The Dark Knight is more like a modern day morality tale/crime/psychological thriller than a comic book movie. Quibbles? Its 152 minute running time; the convoluted plot (more viewings!), and the confusing action scenes at times. James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer's beautiful score is appropriately dark (how about that Joker suite?). But the richly layered script delves into the culture of fear, terrorism, corruption, nature of good and evil, vigilanteism, amorality, chaos. The questions it raises in the viewers' minds, the moral dilemmas...it's enough to make one go batty :)

The film picks up where Batman Begins left off. The troubled Caped Crusader seems ready to hand off his crime-fighting duties to Gotham's new White Knight, District Attorney Harvey Dent (an excellent Aaron Eckhart). The DA has taken on the Mob and incidentally, is dating Batman's lady love, Assistant DA Rachel Dawes (thankfully played by Maggie Gyllenhaal this time). Gotham however, has a bigger problem: an unhinged Joker, a painted, scarred mass murdering sociopath played maniacally and creepily by the late Heath Ledger. This is Mr. Ledger's film. From the posture, the tongue-flicking, facial tic, the voice, it is worthy of a posthumous Academy Award. Sir Michael Caine (Alfred) said that he had never met Heath before, and in the scene at Bruce Wayne's penthouse, watching his Joker frightened him so much that Caine forgot his lines. His swan song performance is a reminder of what we have lost as audiences. The shot of him in the nurse's uniform with the name tag Matilda (Ledger's daughter) was an even bigger and more poignant reminder of what his family has lost.


(photo from Movieweb)

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