30 minutes ago
Friday, July 25
The Dark Knight
The 'reimagining' of the Batman franchise continues with this black, bleak, typically dystopian, chaotic masterwork, The Dark Knight.
With a script penned by his brother Jonathan, Christopher Nolan has fashioned a modern crime saga that displays its comic foundations proudly and takes all the best things about smart summer blockbusters and makes them even better.
The key, firstly, is to provide a decent story and script. Then get yourself a rock solid cast. Then ramp the action up to 11 and keep the violence ultra and the editing fast.
It seems redundant for me to point out that Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker is astounding, not least because this jars so strongly with his last outstanding performance which was one of heart-wrenching quietness and poignancy as Ennis in Brokeback Mountain. Ledger brings to this role a physical and personal transformation so convincing, I effectively forgot it was an acting performance and bought into the character entirely from the outset.
His vocal stylings owe a little to Jack Lemmon, with his deliberate, whiny Middle American drawl and his hunched posture, ragged face and scar-licking lizard tongue only serve to heighten an absolute tour-de-force display as the script gives him all the best lines and he makes the most of every chance to play the creepy, anarchistic headcase. There is no sadness here and the idea that the Joker role may have been a factor in his mind's state at the time of his death is absurd - he clearly relished the acting role and Christian Bale, in interviews, has said as much. This role is any talented actor's dream - an opportunity to really make a mark in a massive film.
As always, there will be detractors moaning about bits and pieces but people need to remember this is based on a comic so quibbles about 'reality' and 'that is impossible' should be fucked into the bin.
Comic books people, comic books.
This is more of a hyper-reality that looks at major themes in society: terrorism, politics and vigilantism, among others, and does a decent job of it.
And Eric Roberts gets a part too? Genius. And as with any summer blockbuster, it is unbelievably entertaining - from the Michael Mann-esque opening bank heist to the truck/van road chase set-piece to the huge laughs Ledger generates with just the words 'Yeah' and, later, 'Hi'.
Yes yes it's a fraction too long and the whole Two-Face thing (that's not a spoiler if you've read any reviews)is a little unnecessary but it doesn't matter.
This is the future of the blockbuster. Everyone else needs to pay attention.