July 22, 2008

Not Your Typical Hollywood Ending

I saw it.
I saw The Dark Knight.

I have to say, it's been a long, long time since I've enjoyed being at the movies that much. I don't know if I would call the movie a "masterpiece," but it was something special. The movie, like Batman Begins, was not what you would expect from a movie based on a comic book. The adventure and the science-fiction style, crazy technology was there, but it was deep and intense--more like a psychological thriller. And I was surprised (in a pleasant way, actually) by the message of the movie.
The Joker has come to Gotham and created mayhem, as those villains tend to do. He preys on the consciences of the entire city, trying to prove that when it comes down to it, people will do anything to survive--even turn on the one person who can protect them: Batman. Criminals and law enforcement alike soon find that this Joker has a different way of doing things. He has no rules, no honor, no plan; he's just an evil, blood-thirsty, psychotic terrorist. He likens himself to Batman in that they aren't bound by laws and regulations, and they need one another to survive. The Joker poisons the minds of the citizens of Gotham, planting seeds of deception: if Batman would only turn himself in, no one would be dead. Dozens of citizens and police officers had died simply because Batman was afraid to reveal his identity. And he threatens: until Batman reveals his identity, citizens of Gotham will continue to die every day.
Bruce Wayne is plagued with guilt, feeling the responsibilty, accepting the Joker's accusations. As he struggles with what is right, Alfred (Michael Caine--just brilliant) challenges him: Either you die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain. Sometimes the right thing to do is not always the status quo, "heroic" thing to do. Is it true? Would these psychotic terrorists cease to exist if they weren't provoked by Batman?
The movie was thought provoking and impressive. Gary Oldman is wonderful as Commissioner Gordon, relentlessly believing in Batman and what he stands for. Aaron Eckhart is the likeable Harvey Dent (who, as we all know, will become Two Face), and, I think, does well in the part. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Rachel, and does worlds better than Katie Holmes. Yet, there was something lacking in her performance for me. In scenes where she was supposed to be portraying intense emotion, I just didn't buy it. But it definitely didn't ruin the movie for me.
Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are a couple of living legends, I think. They are two of the best actors of our time, and even though they have relatively small roles, they were a huge part of the movie's success for me.
Christian Bale is once again totally baller as the Dark Knight himself. He's deep and intense and angsty, and he is the best Batman of. all. time.
Heath Ledger's performance has gotten a lot of hype, but for good reason. It wasn't until his last scene in the movie that the realization hit me once again that he's no longer living. But his performance in this movie was legendary! He was frightening and crazy and evil. And actually...funny. There were parts of the movie he had me laughing where I was thinking, he's a bad, bad man! I shouldn't laugh at him!
When I first read the reviews that seemed to politicize the movie, I thought, 'What a bunch of punks. Just let this one be, guys!'
But seriously. Some of the similarities were glaring. Especially the measures Batman goes to in order to save Gotham from The Joker. And it was definitely not your typical Hollywood, "let's sit down with the terrorists and have a nice conversation over tea because they aren't inherently evil--we just provoked them!"

Most of all, the movie was clean. Yes, there were some disturbing images. I wouldn't take my 7 year old to see this movie. But at no point did the movie try to sex-it-up to make up for a bad story. There are a couple of scenes where Bruce Wayne, trying to keep up his spoiled playboy billionaire alter-ego, walks in with two or three bimbos on his arm. But nothing raunchy or offensive. I was at ease and able to soak in the goodness of the film and it's story.

I loved it. And I'm totally going to see it on the IMAX.

There's a cockroach in my trash can and he's wiggling.


  1. Karen I always enjoy reading your blog. I was wondering whether to go see this movie or not - think I will now. I wish it was in 3D. Thanks for the review.

  2. heath definitely did it for me. of glad he did so well in his last role.