The Magician that is Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight Review
August 5, 2008
So I finally went to watch The Dark Knight. And I’ll go again. And again. Maybe alone. Maybe together if you accompany me. But don’t blame me if I don’t talk to you during the movie. And I’d rather you didn’t talk to me too.
Well, by now you must’ve understood that like millions of others, even I am liking, loving, living and raving about The Batman and the latest edition out in cinemas. And well, ideally, a review is supposed to come out just before the movie or a day after its release. But well, I’ve my own way of doing things, and by now, you should be well-acquainted with my lack of method and direction. So this is my view, review and feelings about The Dark Knight.
Firstly, I know most of you here would want me to rave mad about The Joker and how he shines and stars in the movie. Yes, the movie definitely belongs to The Joker, and I’d hate it to be otherwise. Simply because, being a Batman comic fan, I know that whenever The Joker comes in the story, The Batman takes a backseat. The Joker is the most flamboyant, insane, eerie and wild villain ever-created in comics, or maybe fiction. And with so many of my mates hyping and raving mad about Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, I had to see the movie now. And don’t get me wrong here, when I say The Joker lived up to my expectations, but didn’t live up to the hype.
We’ll come back to that, but first the movie. The movie is an awesome epoch, a tutorial on how superhero/thriller/action movies are supposed to be made. It is one fluid story, with no missing links, absolutely no extraneous scenes, and no dip in the intensity or the excitement. All along, the movie just keeps rising, and rising, and rising, never ever losing momentum. Every scene is better than the one preceding it, and you are at a loss at the end of the movie to select the best scene in the movie. And this is where Christopher Nolan excels as a storyteller and a director. Every character is etched out superbly, with shades of dark and light, and with considerable depth. Though the movie is long by Hollywood standards, clocking a good 160 minutes, it doesn’t feel that way. The editing being crisp, and the screenplay being racy, I did not feel the need for an Intermission, and was mighty pissed when it came on abruptly. That is the power of this movie – its pace & its momentum.
I will not give away the story, just because if you’ve watched it, you don’t need it and if you haven’t, you better go watch it. The Batman is superb as ever, and Christian Bale plays him to the hilt. All the other characters, Maggie Gylenhaal as Rachel Dawes, Alan Eckhart as Harvey Dent, those two wonderful actors, Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman, playing Alfred the butler and Lucius Fox respectively, Gary Oldman playing Gordon and the support cast is inspiring and does an awesome job. And now we come to the star, The Joker, played by Heath Ledger. First the negatives, yes there are. I’d like to ask Christopher Nolan and the make-up man, pray, why, make The Joker look like the popular wrestler Sting? If you compare the previous Joker played by Jack Nicholson, and the one played by Heath Ledger, I’d definitely say the one by Nicholson is better dressed and charming, and better made-up. Because you have to understand this, The Joker is not just evil, he’s smart, he’s suave, he’s a charmer. He’s this smooth guy, who is somehow wackily funny, but bone-chillingly dreadful. He’s The Mask gone evil. They could’ve dressed him better. And the only other negative was, I felt like asking The Joker himself, “Why So Serious?” Because for the first half of the movie, he came out as this menacing, evil, mad guy, who is insane but he didn’t make me laugh. Maybe I was searching for dark humor from the master of dark humor that is Christoper Nolan, but well, in the second half, I got my kick of humor-inducing evil menace
The positives – well, so many!!! The walk, the talk, the evil glare, the mad eyes, the menace, the lip-licking, the darting out of the tongue like a snake, all was done to the hilt by Ledger. He was evil in the carving scene of the thug, magnificent in the interrogation scene with Batman, absolutely mind-blowing in the finale, and wonderfully carefree in the scene when he escapes from the prison in the car. But the best I liked him was when he comes out of the hospital in a nurse’s uniform, blowing the whole building to pieces, while doing his nonchalant catwalk, playing with the remote. Evil has never been so damn crazy!!! I’d give Jack Nicholson a 7 out of 10 for his role in the previous edition, while I’ll give Heath Ledger a 9.5 out of 10. The only 0.5 went away because he seemed too evil, without being hilarious most times. And if you think that’s not possible, you should watch some real dark humor. But that takes nothing away from Heath Ledger. Because Ledger’s gone ahead and created a legacy, an imprint, which will be hard to follow. Because Ledger’s no more. This was his swan song. And what a song it was.
There – go watch it. I’ll give the movie a 9.75 out of 10. And keep watching it again. And again. And again. Wanna join me?