The Dark Knight – review

This movie was released on 24 July 2008, it received huge publicity due to Heath Ledger’s passing. I’m deeply saddened by his death, he put his whole self into depicting the ‘Joker’, I believe he got lost in this sociopath psychotic character which caused him distress off screen. He told Empire magazine, he locked himself away for a month in a London hotel to experiment with different voices and laughs, but he “ended up more in the realm of a psychopath”. It is reported he died from an accidental toxic combination of drugs. He won 21 movie awards for his role, most notable a posthumous Academy Award for best Supporting Actor, and you can see why. Heath was just one of many stars in this blockbuster, Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart and Michael Caine back this up. Each actor or actress brought something new to the movie. It is all brought together brilliantly by Christopher Nolan, Batman has definitely evolved in two senses. The character is considered a watchful protector, and he has now added pressures and expectations of the people. It was natural too, that the suit must evolve with the character. But the other break-through, which is extraordinary, is the fact the whole movie was filmed in Imax giving the world’s highest resolution to the viewer. This gave for animmersive image with fine quality. The inclusion of Hans Zimmer who was allowed free rain to experiment with different sounds was a brilliant move, his previous work includes “Gladiator” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. He encapsulated the tension which has been described as “razor blades on strings” perfectly, it is dark and almost painfully to hear at points.
So onto the plot, it is set a year on from Batman Begins. Gotham City has seen an escalation in organised crime, and an uprising in copy-cats of the ‘masked vigilante’, so from the very beginning, the viewer discovers the detrimental effect of Batman’s power. The film sets off at whirlwind pace, and the experiment off using Imax filming equipment pays off straight away. It brings a scope and scale which is unprecedented, the helicopter shots of Chicago are crisp and quality. The opening scene of the bank robbery has a lot of twists and turns, and you see the intelligence and manipulation skills of the Joker. It moves on from here, and doesn’t stop! The Director of Photography wanted to make every scene authentic with real backdrops where possible, this made everything a lot more believable.

Batman has no superpower, just a lot of money! He isn’t a hero, he is something more! A ‘watchful protector’ or a ‘silent guardian’, he adapts and becomes “whatever Gotham needs me to be”. You often think of superheroes being indestructible, but Bruce Wayne is only human, and Christian Bale opens up this billionaire’s emotions to make him less chimerical. Bruce wants to be normal, and hold a relationship with his true love, Rachel Dawes, but she knows this is impossible. Batman is looking for a replacement and sees it in Harvey Dent (District Attorney and Gotham’s White Knight). This role is played by Aaron Eckhart, before this movie, I had heard nothing of him. His character develops with time, and you begin to see the two sides of his personality. The Joker who is played by Heath Ledger, who I have already spoken about in paragraph one is fantastic. His extreme portrayal of this criminal mastermind who thrust the city into anarchy blows you away. The Joker believes, ” the only sensible way to live in this world is without rules” and you fear his purposeless ways, because it isn’t about money. Every role is filled with fantastic actor or actress, and they seem to work off each other. The casting seem to be spot-on and you can feel real chemistry between co-workers. The relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred (Michael Caine) is particularly interesting, the butler has developed a father role to Bruce and you can see the unwritten closeness between them.

Many themes are splashed across this film, but you need to “read between the lines” sometimes. The talking points that stick out to me are selfishness, human nature, political corruption, and chaos theory. The list goes on! To conclude, without a shadow of a doubt, watch this movie! It is groundbreaking stuff, and there is so much behind it. The labyrinth of the movie draws out your emotions, and keeps you on the edge of your seat.


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