Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Review: The Dark Knight

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Dark Knight poster

The Dark Knight
152 mins / Dir. Christopher Nolan

A twenty minute break, after Batman Begins is just enough time to whizz down to Sainsburg's for a sandwich (because I can't eat the shit that passes for 'hot food' in the cinema) and queue for another coffee…

The Dark Knight is another one I didn't exactly gush about when it was first released. I could see what everyone loved about it, of course, I just wasn't completely sold myself. Tonally, it's quite a different beast, adhering more closely to the model for superhero flick, although still with plenty of crime-thriller thrown in to keep it muted. Gone are the domed archways over the city's monorail system, the last vestige of Tim Burton's Gotham; in The Dark Knight, Gotham is presented as an actual breathing city, not just a fantastical backdrop for the man with the cape. A plot revolving around the city's crimelords and their ill-gained money and power stays just on the right side of convoluted, and doesn't feel stretched, even rolling in at two and a half hours. I don't think it's necessarily a stronger (or even equal) plot than BB, but that doesn't really matter when Nolan has an ace up his sleeve...

Whatever else it has going for it, this is of course Heath Ledger's film. Irrespective of the events that occurred after filming had closed, he steals every scene he's in and owns the film completely. What happened afterwards was undeniably terrible, but to let that colour your view of his performance is almost to cheapen it (imho). His portrayal of The Joker is priceless, and offset beautifully by the other characters having no real idea of how to deal with the threat he poses. Ledger shows us a masterclass in theatrical madness, with more than a hint of danger about it.

But it's not all fun and games. We have Bale putting on a frankly ridiculous voice as Batman, this time round, and Maggie Gyllenhaal has replaced Katie Holmes, making a character I wasn't bothered about actually unlikeable. The conclusion of the Two-Face arc also seems like a massive waste, given the amount of time and effort went into convincingly building the character.

As much as I love The Dark Knight, I can't ignore those flaws, given that two of them are central to the film itself.
But ultimately, it's still a great ride.

6/7

DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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