Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First Dark Knight Review Has Been Posted on Aint It Cool News

Below is the first review posted for The Dark Knight. Got this from the AICN website. Spoilers are at a minimum so feel free to give it a read. If what this guy says is real, the movie and Heath Ledger's final performance deliver in a big way.

Hi Harry and the rest of the crew,

Just after watching The Dark Knight. I see no reviews are online so I
thought Id send you my review.

Ive kept this review as spoiler free as possible as I dont want to
ruin anything like someone did recently with another Christian Bale

Ill start by saying that I was a fan of Batman Begins and am a huge
admirer of Christopher Nolan's body of work. I had my faults with BB
mainly to do with how they shot and edited the fight sequences but
felt it was a great start to a much larger story and I jumped with joy
when Gordan pulled out the Joker card at the end.

The Dark Knight opens with a bank heist sequence that highlights how
the joker is always one step ahead of the criminals he is working with
and the police who are after him. Numerous men break into a bank
controlled by the mob wearing clown masks and comment on how The Joker
has put the whole thing together. This is the catalyst for which the
rest of the events in this movie takes place.

The heist does not go to plan well at least not for all the gang. Its
a great set up and payoff and a unique way of introducing the ace in
TDK'S whole or in this case its Joker.

Heath Ledgers performance of the joker is truly one for the books. A
man of no remorse or morals who simply wants to see things burn. There
is no back story or establishing the character. He is fully formed. He
does have some dialogue scenes that reveal a bit of his background.
Lets just say he has some issues with his father and that smile of his
is rooted in a gesture of love. He is far from a caricature and has
depth . He realises that without Batman he would not be. The Joker is
almost more of a terrorist than criminal. He is not motivated by
money. He wants to see people suffer. Its a damn shame that this was
Heath Ledger's final major performance as it shows a whole different
side to him as a performer and I now know that he was endlessly
talented. To watch him walk away from an exploding hospital dressed as
a nurse is probably my favourite moment Ive seen on film so far this
year. Also look out for when he makes a pencil disappear such a cool
moment! Best supporting Oscar anyone?

Gotham is still engulfed by crime. Falcone's reign as the head of the
mob is over and that seat has been filled by Salvatore Maroni played
by Eric Roberts. What becomes clear is that there are also numerous
other gangs within Gotham. Its no longer just one syndicate. They are
all in some way in cohoots but the arrival of Batman has made it
harder for them to operate.

Batman has inspired the city officials particularly Harvey Dent. The
DA for Gotham city. This is really his story. The rise and fall of the
white knight. He is Bruce Wayne's hope for Gotham City. A hero who
doesn't have to wear a mask. A man who can inspire hope in the masses.
If BB was about fear then TDK is about hope and is relevant in today's
times. Harvey Dent is a good honest man who is willing to bear the
weight of bringing down all the criminals on his shoulders and what
that means for his own life and those he loves. In terms of his
transition to Two Face all I will say is that everything online that
Ive seen is fake. The moment we first see him in hospital when Harvey
Dent asks Gordan what his nickname used to be in Internal Affairs and
Gordan says Harvey Two Face and Harvey turns to him . Such a clever
way of establishing the character. Even down to his double sided coin.
Lets just say Aaron Eckhart puts Tommy Lee Jones to friggin shame!

The film feels more like a crime drama in a grand city scape than a
typical comic book movie. It feels like Heat except Batman is Al
Pacino and The Joker is Robert De Niro and just like in that film we
have a great scene between Heath Ledger and Christian Bale across a
table. There is also an element of a Greek Tragedy.. There is a vast
sense of morality at play within the film.

Dent is trying to bring down the criminals and wants to bring them in
under a RICO charge. To do this he needs Batman's help as he has to
bring in the man who takes care of all their money. A glorified
accountant as Rachel Dawes puts it.Think Al Capones accountant in the
Untouchables. So Batman ventures to Hong Kong. It adds to the idea
that this is very much set in the real world and its not just Gotham
that Batman can access.

This all happens within the first third of the film. The run time is
two and a half hours. It doesn't feel that long as there is so much
going on within the film. Ive always felt Christopher Nolan was able
to handle pacing unlike many movies that are over two hours these
days. This is also his first entirely linear film and he proves
himself to be a gifted storyteller and a master of utilising film as a
visual medium. He fills each frame with so much scope and detail. You
can tell he is enjoying himself with the amount of money he is being
allowed to play with and wants to better himself and the franchise.
Although this movie doesn't feel like an instalment in a franchise.
The best thing I can think of for comparison is The Godfather Part 2.

There is no sign of the Batcave in this film. Although Alfred does
make mention of it saying how he looks forward to it being finished.
Bruce now lives in a pretty sweet penthouse apartment and his new
batcave is in an underground layer in the docks. Bruce and Lucious Fox
have been working on the suit and toys although to my surprise the
Batpod was in BB and nobody spotted it. It'll put a smile on your face
when it makes its introduction.

Christian Bale owns this role. He is Bruce Wayne and he is Batman. He
is also a third character in some regards as there are almost two
sides to Bruce Wayne. The public figure, a playboy billionaire who
knows how to spend his money and the Bruce Wayne behind closed doors
who only Alfred and Rachel get to see. A man covered in bruises and
wounds who desperately wants be free of Batman but is compelled to
make a difference as no one else can. He can play the villain to be
the hero as he does.

The second third focuses on the capturing of The Joker. The city is
living in fear as he makes threats on national television that he
always follows through with. You simple have no idea what he will do
next. There appears to be no reason to his madness although that
proves to not be the case.

I don't really want to give away anymore. I will say there is death
but not in the way some of the fan boys who have watched the trailer
are thinking. There is a prestige moment within the film that is a
true Chris Nolan moment. The scarecrow is in the film but has a very
minor role.

Just go see it on opening day in a room full of fans. Ill be doing the
same and have no doubt Ill enjoy it even more the second time round.


Tim Bisley

1 comment:

Andy Donaldson said...

I read this at lunch today too. I cannot wait to see it. Then again, at the rate I am going, it will probably be on DVD before I go. I still have yet to see Iron Man and Hulk. That will hopefully be resolved next week on my vacation!