January 29, 2009

Why So Serious?

Posted in Action, Crime, Fantasy, Movies, Thriller at 11:54 pm by inflickted

dark_knightRarely can a sequel surpass its predecessor, more so, if the film in question is about a comic book superhero. However, there are always exceptions. This particular movie is just that. It greatly improves upon the flaws, loose ends and shortcomings of its predecessor (however few they maybe) and at the same time bringing to the table a brand new feast for the senses. Something this brilliant goes beyond your average sequel. It’s given a new vision and is re-imagined for a more adult audience; the kind that grew up with the comic book.

The movie is so brilliant, it didn’t even need the titular character in the name of the movie (it’s the first one not to use the iconic name). It is so uncompromising, that the film is brutally shocking (even terrifying for some). My expectations for the movie were so high because of all the hype, yet it still blew me away. What can a movie fan do when he witnesses brilliance? All you can do is sit back, take in all the movie has to offer, and put a great big smile on your face. This is my review for the best comic book-based movie ever made, “The Dark knight”.

Written and directed by the amazing Christopher Nolan, who also gave us grand movies like “Memento,” “Insomnia” and of course “Batman Begins,” has completely reshaped the way we once saw the caped crusader. A mere comic book movie? Don’t even think it. “The Dark Knight” has enough ferocity, justice, spectacle, gore, and psychotic nightmare to fill 10 mainstream comic book-based flicks. His take on the fanciful comic book story is refreshing in concept and chilling in its authentic terror. The writers (The Christopher and Jonathan Nolan) create story lines that parallel the real world. Themes of moral dilemmas, terrorism, and psychological behaviors are explored. Let’s not forget the awesome script. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.” “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.” “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” These are the kinds of lines that just strike you as you watch. Christopher Nolan is truly one of the great mainstream directors today who keep blowing audiences and critics away.

The director also redefines the concept of a supporting cast. He not only uses them in integral roles but draws high impact out of them in ways you typically only achieve from lead roles. The all star cast provide immaculate performances from Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Gordon and replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes is the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal (she’s much better). One of the characters I became fascinated with was Harvey Dent, better known as the villain Two-Face. Aaron Eckart, like in most of his films makes the most of the All American persona, but brings a whole new depth to his character who cradles the bounds of hero and vengeful hatred. Just the realism of the character’s development was enthralling and understandable even. Christian Bale was still a good fit as Batman, still doubtful of his purpose and struggles to obtain a normal life and provide justice, even though he no longer wants any part of it.

But as much as Christian Bale’s character is one of history’s most beloved characters, like any great crook, his show was stolen by Heath Ledger’s villain namely, The Joker. Let me tell you, I was in utter awe of his portrayal. Ledger makes the Joker his, imbuing the character with such menace and genuine insanity that I finally got a sense of what talent he really had. If beauty is in the details, then Ledger’s Joker is a masterpiece. The way he flicks his tongue, the sound of his excess saliva, eye contact, body language, his cracked makeup; very bit of his character twisted to bring terror to everyone’s hearts.

But what tops all of that is Ledger’s voice. The way he manipulated it, seemed he was capable of anything. From a impish pitch to a deep growl, the way he stretched words, popping syllables, punctuating sentences and his chilling laugh; you can feel the way he relishes his self-mockery and torture of others. Add to that some of the best lines in the movie and being the Joker, the funniest albeit in a gruesome manner. Cruelty plus cleverness is a fearsome combination. Truly, Heath Ledger’s Joker is immortal. Joker is the Anti-Batman. Armed with a psyche that creates paranoia around everyone he meets, breeds relentless violence and rules with anarchy, The Joker is revealed for what he really should be, not a clown, but an insane killer. Heath Ledger completely topples the film with a performance that almost sucks the life out of all, including Batman.

Everything worked for the movie. The script, the cinematography, the performances, even the length of the film; everything executed masterfully. The Dark Knight is a multi-genre spectacle; you have facets of futuristic technology, romance, drama, comedy, high velocity action, horror, and psychological crime thriller all in one. Making all of these genres work together has made the movie a success. It possessed something beyond your average piece of film or entertainment. It completely engulfed me and made me feel so happy to have watched it.

After leaving the theatre, you are left with this one burdening question, “How in the hell will they top a beautiful example of cinematic flawlessness?!” Well, maybe not exactly like that question, but one thing’s certain, no one can fill the gapping whole left by the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger. But I’m sure Christopher Nolan and his amazing team will find a way. For such a fantasy, it is amazing how he can make it feel real. This review for “The Dark Knight”, to me, was exhausting and confusing. Yet all I really wanted to say could’ve been summarized in one sentence. WE ARE WITNESSING THE MAKINGS OF A CLASSIC.

It gets a serious 5 out of 5 or 100% infectious

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1 Comment »

  1. paolo said,

    indeed a classic. if Heath doesn’t win Oscar’s Best Supporting Actor, they might as well give Best Picture to Benjamin Button.


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