Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Dark Knight, dir. Christopher Nolan (2008)

Approaching this film was a matter of some trepidation for me considering the huge amount of of hype. How was one to appreciate the film and not be distracted? Some feel it is merited, others, not. That is a banal thing to say, but then a lot of what has been written has been to feed the beast, rather than to ruminate on the film. The death of Legder creates a pall; it was sudden and avoidable and very sad. His performance is quite simply extraordinary. He plays the Joker, and the picture of this insane and psychotic killer is drawn with disturbing lines. He goes places for this performance that I am sure are not happy.

Gotham City has a new Distict Attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Echkart) and he's been very successful in putting away criminals. The biggest challenge is going to be the capture of the Joker (Heath Ledger), a mysterious crazy killer who sets himself up (eventually) as an ally of the city's mob to kill Batman. Batman's job is to capture the Joker before he kills more innocent people, and Harvey Dent wants to capture the large amount of money belonging to the mob. This is all done with the help of James Gordon (Gary Oldman), the city's only good cop. Bruce Wayne wants to retire and settle down with Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the love of his life, but she has taken up with Harvey Dent. Things take a turn for the worse when the Joker sets his sights on Harvey and Rachel, and you know things are not going to turn out well.

I think that this film is very good. Excellent, even. What most moved me most was the exquisitely powerful meditation on Justice, at once most awesome and most brittle. The rule of Law, of Batman's sacrificial position as upholder of the law while also being outside the law, are delicately treated. And Fortune, fickleness herself, is another character, so vividly seen in Harvey Dent's two-face coin. He makes his own fortune (both sides of the coin are the same), but Fortune catches up with him, or rather he himself almost becomes the figure of Fortune. The Joker, too, has two faces, one hidden underneath the make-up, hiding and making manifest. All triangulating with Batman's two faces (I like how Bruce Wayne sports a rather beautiful Jaeger Le-Coultre Reverso, that is, a watch with two faces).

All the fortune stuff is foremost in my mind because at the moment I am reading the extraordinary Daniel Heller-Roazen, Fortune's Faces: The Roman de la Rose and the Poetics of Contingency (Batimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). It is exhilerating.

2 comments:

Tony said...

Preferably, for everyone who isn't a viral marketer, the next Batman will have a better, relevant, screenplay, a better director and better actors, especially as Batman. The major complaint, obviously, was the terrible, yet overhyped, movie, the atrocious directing, and the terrible, badly-cast, gay actors. If this were imdb there would be more viral marketers here. They're like the cheap hustler telemarketers and telephone technical support of internet media. The next Batman movie needs to be just plain better. Meaning NO BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miglior acque said...

I'm not a viral marketer, Tony, I just went to see the film and enjoyed it and wrote about it. I don't read IMDB much anymore because of the low quality of the comments and criticism. But I hope you find what you're looking for, you seem unhappy.

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