Friday, July 16, 2010

The Dark Knight (Rewatch?)

Okay, I have seen The Dark Knight several times before, but technically it's not a 'rewatch' because I haven't blogged about it before. So there, my 'movie a day' challenge remains intact.

As I said, I have watched The Dark Knight several times before. The first time I saw it, that was the most exciting day of my life. I watched it a few times when I got it on DVD, then I didn't watch it again for almost a year. A few weeks ago, I brought it out of my dusty DVD shelf and gave it another go. And again, as it was sitting right by my bed, I wanted to watch it again.
I sit here and wonder why I keep going back to this film. It almost seems like every time I watch it I gain something new from it...I find out something I didn't already know. But on this most recent watch, I think I may have the whole movie in the palm of my hand and that I have exhausted every single detail of the film...though can I really be sure?

This is what I love about Nolan films is that they are never that great on the first watch. Sure, they blow your mind to the extent that you will give it a full quota of stars. But to me, when I first saw it, I, like many, was blinded by the fantastic performance from Heath Ledger. So what has changed for me now?

I wouldn't say this has changed, as I was well aware of it during my first watch, but I was overpowered by it's originality. When people use the term 'superhero' movie to describe it, I can't think of anything less true. Yes, it has the central character Batman, who is perceived by many to be a superhero, but Batman is just someone who wants to make Gotham a better place. Just like people donate money to poor people, they are trying to make a difference. Just because Batman wears a cape and is insanely good at beating people up doesn't justify him to be a superhero. Superman is a superhero, hence the name. Nolan has managed to turn the tables on what Batman is supposed to be, an unfortunate image created by Tim Burton, and turned him into something completely human. With benefits.

When I first saw The Dark Knight, I had not seen Batman Begins. In fact, I had not seen Batman Begins until just recently. Call me stupid, but, when I put Knight into context through Begins I got a clearer picture. Though, that didn't necessarily make the movie any better for me.

The cast was more than just Heath Ledger. Everyone performed at their utmost best, but especially, to me, I have to praise Aaron Eckhart. Here is a truly underrated actor, who may pick some crap films (uh, Love Happens?), but manages to defy the odds as Harvey Dent. I don't know why people don't pick up on his performance more (okay, who am I kidding, everybody loved Heath Ledger, and left it at that.), because he handled the role with such polished professionalism and later disdain when Dent turns out to be the villain. Other than Eckhart, another particular standout is Maggie Gyllenhaal, who more than capably makes the role of Rachel Dawes her own. Katie Holmes was pretty weak in the role in the first film, but Gyllenhaal brings more strength to her character and fills in the blanks which Holmes was missing.

There are so many stories in this film, that all twist into one, though you don't have time to realise it. Of course, this is down to Nolan's quick editing techniques, which fit perfectly within this film because it gets so much point across in its 146 minutes, and still keeps you captivated. In the normal world, a film about Batman which last 146 minutes should be pretty boring and only focused on Batman going around saving the day and getting the girl. These two points are only minor factors in otherwise a thoroughly smart and rich take on Gotham's underbelly. That subject matter, which is actually the main point of the film, requires several stories of mobs (Salvatore Maroni's men), a villain willing to take Batman on (Joker), that villain cutting off some of Gotham's key links to cleanliness, an Attorney trying to make a change but ultimately becoming the victim of the villains nasty plan, and then of course, we have Batman trying to clean this mess up. If it wanted to be, this film could have at least been three different ones. But that would have been too easy. Nolan could handle a million films in one if he wanted to.

A lot of people died in this movie. And you know what? I usually have a problem with this. But the films massive violence and death rate makes it so much better. People get turned on by death, and most films throw this in there and it usually comes out stupid. Not this one.

Finally, the absence of CGI makes this so much more believable. That's what we need. We need to believe what we are seeing instead of believing the green screen.

When I think about The Dark Knight, I am usually greeted with fond memories of how it went straight to number one on IMDB's top 250, of how I fell in love with Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker, of how excited I was to go and see it. Then I realise that these three memories are memories which can never be replicated by another release. No film, not any film based on a comic anyway, will ever get to the heights that The Dark Knight so proudly sits on. It may, like some films, have become the victim of over hype, but this film was worth getting hyped up for. It still is. Sure, it may have made it's way down to bargain bins, but people remember it. And why is that? Because it's an almost perfect smart dark thriller, which is ambitious and has no limits. It just keeps aiming for the sky.

Favourite scene?
Either the interrogation scene, the hospital scene or the chase between the Joker in the truck and Batman's Batpod. But ultimately, I will never forget the prologue scene for starting an epic movie just how I would want it.

Favourite quote?
Harvey Dent: "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
The best film of the decade, no doubt about it.


  1. Funny, I saw TDK before Batman Begins just like you. Awesome write-up on our favorite film (one of them) :)

  2. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great writing, have a nice evening! 8mm Film transfer to DVD


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


Related Posts with Thumbnails