Saturday, 26 September 2020
The Dark Knight
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 24 July 2008 00:00

ThumbnailThings are always darkest before the dawn, and I have to say that for the residents of Gotham City, I don’t think it could get any darker. It seems like the population is 98% comprised of lecherous villains and escapees from the Arkham Asylum. Lucky for the residents of Gotham they have Batman. Lucky for Batman there is writer/director Chris Nolan and an incredibly talented cast to battle the forces of franchise overkill and keep this series fresh.

With movies like Memento, Insomnia and The Prestige under his belt Nolan has a remarkable track record of films that walk the line between indie classics and mainstream hits. After the last Batman franchise got progressively worse with each installment, eventually tanking back in the nineties, Nolan started from scratch and made us believe again by releasing Batman Begins – a smart and original take on the Batman saga.

In the second installment, Batman (aka millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, aka millionaire actor Christian Bale) is battling crime and trying to bring some of Gotham’s major mob bosses to justice. Public citizens are either risking their lives copying him, or rallying for his arrest. Pretty-boy district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is dating the girl Wayne loves but can never have. It’s a dark night for the Dark Knight. To make matters worse, a lunatic who calls himself The Joker is getting muddled up in the city’s crime scene, but Batman underestimates this nemesis. As his butler Alfred (Michael Caine) warns; sometimes people don’t have any hidden motives, or secret logic – sometimes they just want to watch the whole world burn.

You’d have to live in some sort of commune not to have heard the buzz over Heath Ledger’s performance in this movie. The fact that it was also his last performance has inspired a morbid curiosity and tabloid lust far beyond the usual Hollywood action flick. So is Heath’s curtain call worth the standing O? Well, I have to say that Ledger deserves every ounce of praise he has received for this role. A great script had a lot to do with it, but Ledger brought this character to life with psychotic and oddly charismatic glee, creating one of the best movie villains in recent years. Nothing’s scarier than absolute insanity, and that is why I love the Batman villains.

ThumbnailThe Dark Knight contains all the action required of a summer blockbuster, but essentially is a character and dialogue driven film. All of the actors interact extremely well together and of course Christian Bale has proven himself to be the most enigmatic Batman yet. He makes the character interesting and dimensional, not just your typical hero. I liked the addition of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who replaces Katie Holmes in the role of Rachel. She brings a lot more depth and spark to the character, which is thankful since the role has expanded into a very important one. And then we have Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent (aka Two Face). Eckhart has proven himself in the past with movies like Thank You For Smoking, and his excellent performance here should not be overlooked.

This follow up certainly lives up to Batman Begins. I for one am looking forward to a third installment, although Heath Ledger will be sorely missed should The Joker be required to make another appearance.