From The Writer's Chair

The Dark Knight – A Movie Review

'Let's Put A Smile On That Face'

'Let's Put A Smile On That Face'

The Dark Knight – A Movie Review

Our obsession with comic book movie culture began in 1978 when a little known actor called Christopher Reeve donned red spandex briefs and transformed from mild mannered and bubbling Clark Kent to the man of steel from Krypton in an instant.

Three decades of well-coiffed demigods, speed, light and destruction commenced and we arrive in 2008 with ‘The Dark Knight’ Gotham City’s own vigilante, ready to stand up against corruption, believe in good and fight for justice in a lawless city.

'The Night Is Darkest Right Before The Dawn'

'The Night Is Darkest Right Before The Dawn'

As far as superheroes go Batman/Bruce Wayne is quiet lacklustre. He certainly isn’t faster than a speeding bullet, or disappointingly he is not other worldly, though he does have a vast array of toys, including an armoured tank, a turbo motorcycle, numerous gadgets and makeshift weaponry and what appears to be a pathological dedicated to an insufficient amount of daily shut-eye.

However, he is also a paradigm. His alter-ego, the arrogant, self absorbed, trust fund brat Bruce Wayne seems to nonchalantly stroll around Wayne Enterprises without much care of how his trust fund is replenished once the coffers have been exhausted.  This incarnation of a suave, insensitive playboy is redeemed however by his obvious affection for his childhood friend Rachel Dawes and his business acumen which ensures that Mr. Wayne won’t be fighting evil do-ers in a hand-me-down bat suit anytime soon.

It is safe to assume that the persona of Bruce Wayne/Batman suggests one of a tormented split personality. He cannot decide on who he wants to be, or where his responsibilities should lie, Gotham’s dark knight, or Rachel Dawes knight in shining armour?

In contrast however, Heath Ledger’s ‘The Joker’ is a potent, sadistic and terrifyingly unpredictable.  He is utterly disparate from Christian Bale’s Batman. From his initial appearance Ledger is so deliciously terrifying that he makes the audience horribly nervous. With his face a peeling façade of clown paint and his mouth a blurred slash The Joker is the embodiment of anarchy and terror. He is the hero’s anti-image. The world judge them as freaks. They need one another to co-exist.

'Heath Ledger As The Joker'

Ledger is so deliciously terrifying and unpredictable that his very presence on screen makes you feel nervous. From the very introduction of his character the atrocities he visits upon his victims are bloody and vile minded. He is sporadic and unbiased in his crimes and preys on our sense of violation which  makes it impossible for Batman to protect us from him.

Transfixed on Ledger’s performance it is difficult to fully appreciate other characters in the film, however Aaron Eckhart’s avenging prosecutor Harvey Dent is noteworthy of significant praise. Dent is the moral core of the film and with his beliefs in fate and fairness his destiny is plausibly journeyed from the light to the shadows.

'Confrontation On The Streets Of Gotham'

The genius of ‘The Dark Knight is that director Christopher Nolan and writer Jonathon Nolan have delivered a stunning comic book movie, complete with gadgets, gizmos and pageantry steeped in reality. It professes and intellectual heart and a tough unresolved message and at 152 minutes long it is enveloping rather than arduous.  The action is engaging with rapid-fire guns denting the cinema auditorium, car chases are conducted with teeth chattering velocity and buildings are demolished to make way for the Batman and The Joker’s climatic confrontation.

However, in the midst of this devastation the question pontificated over is whether Batman’s presence brings more safety and security for the people of Gotham or danger itself.  Is it his responsibility to preside over justice?

The Dark Knight will mesmerise and delight. It is truly an awe inspiring movie one to be viewed on numerous occasions if only to appreciate the performance of Heath Ledger. This is his epitaph.


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