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|The Dark Knight
07/24/08 at 12:28 PM
|The Dark Knight- 100%|
NOTE- Spoilers run rampant throughout, if you haven't seen it I'd recommend waiting.
For many months, the massive anticipation surrounding The Dark Knight has spawned rabid fans, a huge viral marketing campaign, and a sense that it would be a truly amazing film. As a reboot of the extremely lackluster Batman film franchise, Batman Begins was both a superhero movie, a crime movie, and a blockbuster/critical success, a very gem in Hollywood, and even more rare amongst superhero movies. And then, three years later, we have The Dark Knight.
The 100% I give it does not mean that this film is perfect, because while watching it I still find myself ever so slightly annoyed by Batman's deep, guttural voice- and thats about it. The 100% reflects that each time I watch it gets better, that the audience cheers and laughs and gasps and that I have never had such a remarkable expirience watching a film. I found myself leaning forward, elbows on my knees and holding my breath throughout. The film is truly a crime saga, an epic tale of good and evil and the thin line our heroes tread trying to be the hero that the people need. Batman's struggle is amplified as the film's opening scene- the Joker and his cohorts pulling off an intentionally botched bank robbery- grabs you and grips your interest. The introduction of the film, the pacing, and all the dialouge is flawless. Every line is incredible, qoutable and powerful at best. From Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucius Fox's (Freeman) wise words of wisdom to Harvey Dent's (Eckhart) musings on heroics, to the Joker's mad ravings. In one of the films best scenes, the Joker tells Batman as he brutally pummels him, "I don't want to kill you, you complete me!", and its more than evident that he really believes it. And when The Joker tells Dent "I'm a wild dog chasing cars, I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it!", its so brutally evident that he really is a madman, as he says, an Agent of Chaos. He's the bandit in Alfred's story of a jewel theif who stole just because he could. The Joker is a terrifying villian in the fact that he has no motive, he has no backstory, we don't know where he's coming from and we certainly don't know where he's going. Enough praise truly cannot be given to Heath Ledger's performance, and as you listen to the Joker tell a fabricated story of how he got his scars, the blow of Heath Ledger's death hit me just as hard as it did on January 22nd. Heath's performance is flawless. His feral snarl of a voice and laugh haunts you, and he roars through Gotham. Seeing The Joker prance down the street in a nurse's outfit as explosions go off behind is kind of hilarious, kidn of terrifying. In the interrogation room scene, his eyes never stay still. He's a rabid dog, a brilliantly deranged madman. Heath deserves an Oscar, undoubtedly. If its a pity win for his death, so be it, I want nothing more than to see him win it at this year's Oscars. His last complete performance is by far his best, and without a doubt the one he'll be remembered for. It's truly a tragedy that he's gone, but its completely evident while watching his turn as the Joker that he was a master at what he did. He is sorely missed, but with The Dark Knight, it can't be more evident that he was one of the best actors of our time. As his makeup smears and ideas become more deranged, the character becomes more and more fascinating, more and more dangerous, and more and more fun to watch.
The Joker isn't the only marvelous thing about the film. From the first apperance of the Batpod to the constantly exciting events- it has a sense of constant climax- it really is just about perfect, easily one of the best films I've ever seen. I've had so much fun anticipating it for months that it was highly unlikely that I would be remotely dissapointed, and I was thrilled to have my expectations shattered. Every performance is golden, including Maggie Gyllenhaal's turn as Rachel Dawes. The tragedy bought on by what happens to her character is thanks to superb writing and her performance, as she sets the stage for the emotional arc Batman goes through. And speaking of which, though the entire film is fantastic, the last five minutes could not be more incredible. Personally as much of a bummer it will be to not see more of the Joker, I don't think Heath should be replaced- his performance truly made the character- but I would certainly like to see more of Two-Face. At the film's end, even though the villians are 'defeated'- (dead? arrested? simply unconscious?) Batman and Gordon are faced with a huge dillema. The film's theme of true heroism is amplified by the decison Gordon and Batman make in the ending, a decision held up by such beautiful dialouge that you're overcome with emotion while listening to the two character's deliver it. The decision Batman makes is amazingly sefless, and it tops off the entire thing. Nolan and his brother found the perfect way to capture the essense of Batman's character and to end the film, as the decision that is made sets up the sequel that I hope to all that is good Nolan returns for and ties up the theme of the film. As Batman goes on the run as an outlaw and Gordon destroys the Batsignal, I can't help but feel I'm watching some of the most perfectly done film I've ever been lucky enough to see.
It's unknown how the inevitable sequel will go- when a movie is this big of a success (Highest opening weekend gross ever, highest midnight gross, highest opening day gross, massive critical praise and Oscar-buss) a sequel will be made for better or worse, but hopefully better. What the Dark Knight achieves is beyond what I could have hoped for, as its everything I look for in a film. Its made for repeat viewings, and with the three times I've seen it gets better with each one. Its a crime if it doesn't get nominated for Best Picture, and with the Oscars shooting for popularity this year, there's a good chance. It truly is an amazing film, and you'll be blown away a number times. The Joker's final monolouge, the brutally intense climax and the brilliant final shot of Batman escaping while the theme plays and a scorching camera flares turn the character into a shadow, they all add to make a film that is huge, sprawling, and absolutely brilliant.
|Tags: movie review, The Dark Knight