Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Dark Knight

So once again, I saw The Dark Knight. My best friend loved Batman Begins, and just finished taking the BAR so she hadn’t had a chance to see it yet and we went.

This film still thrills me. Each time I watch it I appreciate Aaron Eckhart and Christian Bale more.

I don’t know how else to explain it, but Christian Bale understands Batman, and he understands that delicate balance between the public image of Bruce Wayne, and the reality of his life as Batman and how that touches every aspect of Bruce Wayne. I cannot watch the scene between Bale & Eckhart in the restaurant discussing Gotham’s need for Batman and not think how much fun it must be as an actor to get to play the defender and the one claiming the defender is unessential.

Eckhart is a similar joy for me to watch as I have been following him since I saw a little film called In the Company of Men when I was in high school. The most surprising thing about Eckhart is the sheer charisma he brings to every role he plays, and Harvey Dent is no exception. It takes very little build up for the audience to believe that Dent is on the level merely from seeing the way Eckhart carries himself and until his downfall he walks the very careful line between following the rules and creating his own. We see the first glimpse of this when Dent kidnaps one of Joker’s wounded men in an attempt to interrogate him. He’ll push through his rules, but he has barriers in place to keep them from breaking; these barriers would be his “own luck” (a.k.a. his coin) and reliance Batman. This perfectly sets Dent up as a hero, but one much more capable of breaking than Wayne.

The more I see of Christopher Nolan’s work the more I adore him. From lighting to set decoration there is no wasted visual element in The Dark Knight. This is a movie born from a man that enjoys the world he is creating and wants to draw you completely into it so that you enjoy it too.

Lt. James Gordon: Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a dark knight.

1 comment:

Adam said...

It's interesting that you say this. I don't think that Eckhart is very good in this film until his transformation. I understand what Nolan wanted the character of Harvey Dent to be. However, I don't think he succeeded. Instead of thinking of the character (pre-transformation) as a charismatic, selfless young politician who's out to do what's right, while watching the film, I saw Harvey Dent as, pardon the obvious pun, two-faced. He almost always seemed to me to be out to do what was best for him and his career, rather than what was best for Gotham. So, I understand what CN wanted the character to be, but I don't think he made it at all.

I recognize that "The Dark Knight" is a very good film and a major achievment in the elevation of superhero films above their genre, much like "The Lord of the Rings" was for fantasy films. However, I think that the film is being overhyped and overpraised. While it's one of the finest superhero movies I've ever seen, and probably the best Batman film I've ever seen, it is not a perfect film.