Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

I told you I was going to, and I bet you all didn’t believe me. I saw The Dark Knight twice in less than 24 hours. That wasn’t originally my intention, but my friends kid begged me to take her and I thought it sounded like fun. On second viewing The Dark Knight is even better than the first time; I could sit back, pay closer attention and notice the details.

One of the things I didn’t have time to spend enough time noticing on the first viewing was the use of daylight in the film. Unlike Batman Begins, this film has a large chunk of activity taking place in the daylight. This underscores the fact that Batman and his activities are infecting more than the dark side of society; he’s begun to infect all of Gotham’s people not just the criminals. The citizens of Gotham are gaining strength, and the criminals are being forced into the daylight and out of the shadows they hid in. Sure everyone knew they were there, but they ignored them until Batman showed that they could be fought against. However, it is this change that makes the most dangerous of them all come out – the Joker.

What I also noticed was something that had the film school academic geek in me absolutely floored. What I assume some of you know, is that symbolically the left side represents evil, and the right represents good; when Tow Face is created it is the left side of Harvey Dent’s face that is permanently scarred and in the process of getting that scar (the actions that led up to it) begin the act that brings to darkness out of Harvey Dent and start the chain reaction that turns him into Two Face. Once the scars are caused it’s quite obvious; more subtle however, is how Dent is lit in all the scenes prior to his turn as Two Face. During every shot I noticed, no matter how subtle Dent is always lit with the major light source illuminating the left side of his face so that the right “good” side of his face is always in somewhat of a shadow, no matter how slight. Thus creating the foreshadowing that Dent will lose his good side and be taken over by the dark natures he has strove to suppress.

This is a summer movie that subtly defies all the rules of summer movies; it is dark, brooding and in essence the good guy doesn’t win. As Christopher Nolan is the masterful filmmaker behind Memento, The Prestige and Insomnia I know that the more I watch The Dark Knight the more layers I will be able to strip away and grasp the deeper meaning behind this film, just like Batman Begins.

The Joker: Where do we begin? A year ago, these cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. I mean, what happened?
Gamble: So what are you proposing?
The Joker: It's simple: Kill the Batman.

No comments: