The Dark Knight – Review

The Dark Knight – Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Rated M for frequent action violence. 152 mins.

The weight of expectation should have crushed this movie. Three years after a critically and financially successful series reboot. Two legendary villains re-introduced. A rabid fanbase who could barely wait to tear into any leaked moment from the film. Actors were recast; tragedy struck. Lesser films have crumbled under a tenth of the pressure placed upon The Dark Knight. Yet there it was, finally on the screen – gut wrenching and disturbing and emotionally draining. But when the film finished, I would have just have happily sat there as they replayed it for the next audience.

Time has passed since Batman Begins. Criminals are truly afraid of the bat man, allowing District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to finally prosecute and bring down the organised crime syndicates within Gotham City. It looks as if Batman might no longer be needed, as Dent is now the beloved White Knight of Gotham. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) considers hanging up the cape once and for all, a promise he once made to childhood sweetheart and Assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Gyllenhall replacing the much less talented Katie Holmes).

It isn’t long however, before a wild card is thrown into the mix. Enter The Joker (Ledger), a scarred and irrationally violent figure who offers to take out Batman for the crippled mobsters. He asks for a hefty fee – and then later burns it to the ground. It isn’t money he wants, its chaos. The Joker begins to terrorise Gotham in ways more shocking than I could ever hope to describe here. I will say this: In one scene, Batman is forced to choose one person’s life over another. The scene ends in one of the most shocking moments I’ve ever witnessed in the cinema. I could feel the entire audience’s heart caught in their throat, as well as my own.
So far, I’ve only described the first half of the film, and I’m not going to divulge the rest. There are far too many surprises to spoil, and being surprised is half the fun. Compare that to a film like Hancock, which feels like the shell of good movie with nothing inside. The Dark Knight is bursting with invention. Christopher Nolan has really given us the greatest Batman film we could have ever asked for. He fills the film with images that are soon to be iconic, and some moments that are so disturbing I don’t know if I could ever get them out of my mind. I would never want to.
Christian Bale really is the perfect Bruce Wayne, and an even better Batman. However, he’s overshadowed here by Heath Ledger, who is as good as you’ve heard. In fact, he’s better. You can’t wait until he’s on screen; he’s funny and scary and absolutely mental. Jack Nicholson was fun, but THIS is The Joker.

Aaron Eckhart is also amazing as Harvey Dent. As fans will already know, Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face at a pivotal point in the film. When Two-Face finally does appear, it’s amazing and horrific. It’s just one of the many moments that are unforgettable.

The Dark Knight keeps your stomach in knots. When the film started, I was excitedly shaking like the fanboy I am. By the time it was over, I was pale, my palms were sweaty, and I could barely hold in the emotions caught in my chest. The film is challenging in ways like no superhero film before it. There are so many “what would I have done” situations, a tie-in book of hypotheticals could be released. It is wave after wave of distress and anxiety. Heroes suffer. Good people die.
From the thrilling score to the demented make-up; the sweeping shots to the gritty script. The supporting cast of Michael Caine as Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, head of Wayne Enterprises and Gary Oldman, as the good cop Lieutenant Gordon. It’s all perfect. It is full of absolute white-knuckle entertainment, including an amazing car chase, bone-breaking fight scenes and one explosion barely big enough to fit on the screen.

While Bruce Wayne claims his Batman is about theatrics and intimidation, deep down he’s about humanity. He gives up a lot to save the soul of Gotham city from the clutches of the Joker. In the so-intense-you-can-barely-watch finale, the citizens of Gotham are forced to prove if there are any souls left worth saving. It’s one of the boldest moments in a brave film. If it doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination, then why even bother giving out awards at all.

I’m going back this weekend. See you there.

5/5

Watch the trailer here.

2 Responses to “The Dark Knight – Review”

  1. This one is really the best Ledger performance ever … You need to see it .. If you’re not a fan , just see it as a tribute to Ledger

  2. kudos to the makers Dark Knight for their record breaking opening weekend… it’s no wonder there’s talk of another one coming out ASAP

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