The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight was my second cinema outing during last week and this time it was just me and my eldest daughter that went along.

There’s already a lot of praise for this movie sloshing around the intertubes and I’m afraid I’m just going to add to that. This is not a typical comic book movie. It is wonderfully dark and tragic and a lot of effort has been put into developing the characters and use of dialogue. There are plenty of action sequences, some special effects wizardry and spectacular photography in evidence but these are, thankfully, not the film’s raison d’etre. Instead the film tells a good, old-fashioned story and examines the extents to which bad people can be bad, good people can be driven to do dubious things, and how a crazy person’s reasons for doing crazy things are, quite simply, impossible for the rest of us to grasp.

Which, of course, brings me to Heath Ledger and his portrayal of The Joker. Setting aside the tragedy of his untimely death long enough to be objective, Ledger’s performance is (was?) genuinely chilling and absolutely gripping. Ledger presents us with a Joker devoid of feelings and of reason, an A grade psychotic oozing edginess and manic energy who keeps you on the edge of your seat each time he graces the screen.

Ledger may have stolen the show with his performance but the rest of the cast didn’t just make up the numbers. Christian Bale makes an excellent Batman but for me the other most notable player was Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent) who plays both sides of his character (before and after his fall) brilliantly. The remainder of the cast were all on top form, even those with comparatively small parts and that added to the overall excellent impression created by the film.

The Dark Knight has been gathering a lot of deserved praise since its release and should be treated as a must see movie by young and old. There are some concentrated bursts of violence but I didn’t think these were as bad as has been reported. I suspect the violence seems more intense because the whole movie is bleak, dark, gothic, intense, thoroughly absorbing and not as littered with the same amount of tension-lifting, throwaway humour as other blockbuster movies.

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