The Dark Knight ****

 

Christian Bale is Batman in "The Dark Knight"

Christian Bale is Batman in “The Dark Knight”

“The Dark Knight” is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Hands down.  It is one of those experiences at the movies I will never forget.  When I saw “Jurassic Park” in the theatre I was 12.  Seeing photo-realistic dinosaurs at that age captivated me.  And when I saw “Magnolia” when I was 18, it was the first movie to open me up to a new world of films outside of the mainstream.  Even watching “Silver Bullet” for the first with my dad on tv, me and my brother were up all night, scared stiff.  Of course we were 9 and 7 respectively, but it is still an experience we joke about today.  “The Dark Knight” is the Batman movie I have always dreamed of, and is a movie going experience I will not soon forget.

“Batman Begins” restarted the Batman franchise back in 2005.  I called it the best movie of that year and I still stand by that statement.  “The Dark Knight” is the follow up to that film, and it is in a different league altogether.  Academy award recognition had better be in it’s future.  This is a movie for the ages.

Everything about this film is superb.  From a technical stand point, the movie is incredible.  The sets, the costumes, the make up, the stunts and action are all top rate.  There is a chase sequence that is staged in the middle of this movie that is as epic and thrilling as I have ever seen.  The performances are all compelling. 

A lot of attention has been focussed on the late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker.  Having now seen it in full force I can say that this is one of the great screen villains in modern cinema.  The loss of Ledger to the cinematic world is fully realized with this performance.  His Joker is a man with no moral grounding, a sick sense of humour, and a twisted yet scarily realistic view on society.  The tests he puts Batman and the citizens of Gotham through are truly terrifying. 

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Heath Ledger as the Joker

But there is another performance in this movie that has been overshadowed by all the attention towards Ledger and that is from Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent.  His story is the back bone of this movie.  Dent is the new district attorney who is trying to help clean this city up.  Eventually he becomes Two Face and embarks on a vengeance filled journey that ends in tragedy.  Eckhart truly gives us a character who we sympathize with.  When he makes his transition, we feel nothing but sorrow. 

And what about Christian Bale?  Is he the best version of Bruce Wayne, aka, Batman so far?  I am not going to compare him to those who took on the cape and cowl in the past.  I will say that he is the best current choice at the moment.  Bale is an actor with enormous depth, and plays Wayne as a man bent on cleaning this city up.  The Joker brings him to the edge between justice and revenge and Bale plays it just perfectly. 

The rest of the cast, including Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Gary Oldman are all just as good as the leads.  But the real achievement here is the story and the direction by Christopher Nolan.  Here he takes a giant step in to an elite director.  He has not stepped wrong yet, and with every picture he directs, he gets better and better.  He is in the zone here.   The story that intertwines all these characters is one of the great, tragic crime sagas.  The screenplay by Nolan and his brother is a testament to screen writing.  It is flawless. 

After the movie was over I sat and reflected on the state of film. How can movies like “Fantastic Four” and “Pirates Of The Caribbean” exist in the same universe as “The Dark Knight”  It shames all the badly made movies that come out every year. A movie like this usually puts me in a funk where I really don’t want to watch movies for a couple of days.  How can anything else measure up?

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One response to “The Dark Knight ****

  1. I purchased tickets to the Dark Night in IMAX and aside from Heath’s great performance of the Joker, the movie dragged on and on and on and on. I have seen many movies, sci-fi, comedy, drama, independent, and I was like, will the damn thing end already. Also too many open ends. The special affects were the only other good thing about this movie. I still to this day have never seen a movie better than ‘The Fugitive”. The storyline was weak, the girl dies “what”. A little too violent for kids that may like comics. 2 stars at best.

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