Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Dark Knight (2008)

That's right readers, I'm tackling a new movie, and a giant, huge, money-making blockbuster at that (I have to do something to please the kids, right?).

Anyway, here we have The Dark Knight, the massive hit from last summer, featuring the last completed performance by Heath Ledger, for which he earned his only Oscar.

The film follows Batman/Bruce Wayne as he deals with the higher-ups of the crime world, who are now being led by a mysterious figure known as The Joker (Heath Ledger). He's also dealing with his former flame Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal)'s new relationship with crusading DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart).

The plot is easily one of the weakest aspects of the movie. Not because it's poorly constructed, but because the overall plot of The Joker is so convoluted, requiring him to have almost-psychic level powers to accomplish what he wants. Now, I know he's supposed to be a master planner, but he performs some actions that would have completely nullified his future plans if Batman hadn't intervened at exactly the right moment. At the time you're watching, this doesn't present itself as an issue, but upon 2 rewatches, you begin to question the structure of the plot and it eventually unravels.

Not to say that the plot ruins the film, it's still good, but it makes the film a bit hard to rewatch.

As for the acting, everyone involved gives great performances, with the obvious standout being Heath Ledger, who totally immerses himself in the role of an enigmatic killer who only desires to create chaos to create chaos, hoping to prove a point that everyone is like him deep down inside, they just need a push. Aaron Eckhart was mostly ignored for his performance as Harvey Dent, which is a bit sad, because he does deliver a much more subtle performance (but no less powerful) than Ledger, having to create a moral man fighting in an amoral world that doesn't fight fair.

The film deals a lot with this idea of order versus chaos. And the question is raised if Batman can truly protect people by limiting himself by certain rules (No killing being the chief one), it brings an interesting question regarding vigilantism and how low are people willing to sink in order to actually do good.

It's that regard that elevates The Dark Knight above standard action fare, it's an intelligent, but still entertaining examination of a moral question that a lot of people pose in post 9/11 America.

That said, director Christopher Nolan does a brilliant job of keeping our interest, and the action sequences are wonderful to behold. As I said, the main issue with the film is the actual plot, but besides that, it's an entertaining ride with some actual brains behind it.

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