Movie Review: The Dark Knight

Let’s put a smile on that face!

Dark KnightI had plans of writing a post on the anime feature: Gotham Knight before I wrote this review, but the last two days were spent in anticipation over the wait for the Dark Knight. And having seen the movie   today on the big screen, I don’t remember what I saw on the anime. Hell, I don’t remember what I saw in the previous Batman movies and once I walk out of the cinema, I get this feeling – that might be the best superhero movie, ever, if not the best movie ever ( Lee thinks so !!). And it is totaly worth all the hype, all the viral marketing, all the fanboism and hoopla at Comic Cons et al, coz it delivers. No that is not the correct word choice. Coz it overtakes your expectations, by glueing you to your seat, grabbing your collar and make you WATCH with your eyes wide open as the Joker giggles and the Batman glides.And guess what? Anyone who enters the theater with great expectations would leave the theater without the desire of doing so, wanting desperately to watch it a second time, a third time, or even more, with the stark realization that the word “great” in one’s expectations earlier is SORELY inadequate! There are reasons why movies like these need to be 2 hours and 32 minutes long. Because there is only one Dark Knight.

The very first thing I would like to highlight on is Gotham City. Not comparing in any form to Burton’s blue and claustrophobic version of Gotham, Nolan’s Chicago-esque (it WAS shot in Chicago) metropolitan Gotham City ( notice the mention of word City) sets the tone perfectly. It is a huge canvas where crime is being painted in dark shades and takes almost every inch of it. There are skyscrapers with glass windows perfect for snipers, and there are dark alleys, parking lots and even open streets where Crime thrives. Gotham City is in complete mess with the ongoing gang wars, bank robberies, Batman clones teamed up with…ha ha ..ScareCrow and even Asian dealers teaming up with Gangsters. And then, all hell breaks loose, when a purple suited, make up wearing , red lipped man who calls himself Joker shows up. What shocks me more than anything is the complete despair that it might be, to see the entire system of a city failing to the plotlines set by the Joker. No….I wouldn’t be revealing anyone of them. You gotta get out and WATCH THIS ONE.

Joker

To put it straight, Heath Ledger steals the show (arguably). There is so much a menace that gleams in his eyes, an unknown thirst seeking for something when he flick his tongue out like a lizard and an enjoyment for chaos in the laughter. I was convinced it wasn’t Ledger, it was the Joker. And Heath Ledger perfects this vision of Nolan to such an extent, that it can be on one of those Best Cinematic Villains list, right up there with Anthony Hopkins-Hannibal Lecter(Silence of the Lambs) and Kevin Spacey’s John Doe (Se7en).The Joker here is BAD BAD! So BAD that he makes Jack Nicholson’s Joker look funny. And with lines that make you feel a chill run down your spine-” Why So Serious? Let’s put a Smile on that face”.And to see him hung upside down revealing -“I don’t want to kill you. What would I do without you?”.
Holy Shmoly. Watch him play more with the minds than with the knives. Listen him speak, and watch him walk. And this coming February, please oh please, give him the Oscar.

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent gives life to this character like never before. There is so much credibility to this one, and you could instantly feel the motivation that keeps him going. To be the ‘White Knight’ of Gotham City. And with the good CGI SFX at service, Two Face can make you cover your eyes with your hands. Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal speaks with ease of his battle against crime and then later on, of his thirst for vengeance. And then there is that small actor called Morgan Freeman(joke for those who just don’t get it and are easily offended), who speaks 2 lines with a wink and a smile, and that is enough for me to remember that Morgan Freeman IS Lucious Fox. Maggie Gyllenhal has not much to do in this movie than just rummaging through files and be the damsel in distress. As for Alfred aka Michael Caine (who was who?), he is the only actor who can play Alf. And I swear I haven’t seen Mr.Caine age in the last 30 years. And then to conclude the characters, there’s Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon. Did someone just pull him out of a DC page? His constant one-man effort in keeping the system work is so exhausting. And then, you feel the belief that he has in Batman. That the Dark Knight is perhaps, the only Hero there is.

Batman vs. Joker

But in a movie clouded by so much hype, the untimely demise of Heath Ledger in an immortal and scary-monstrous role, Christian Bale still manages to keep it as a Batman movie. Not just by the act of him gliding over the Gotham skyline (so cool, that if you had the DVD, your remote would be done in 2 weeks), but by justifying the name-Dark Knight. Batman, unlike any other superhero of the DC and Marvel Universe, is a man living with the trauma of trying to be the good one, and only to be pushed back to the dark side. He is a loner, an outcast, questionably trusted by only a few, and yet he dresses up in his bat suit to battle crime. Batman’s inner struggle to balance the vigilante and the comfortable public persona of Bruce Wayne is visible in every scene. His voice commands like the Dark Knight would, and his flamboyance speaks for itself when he is Bruce Wayne.The Batman has to fight and keep on fighting, come what may. In pain, in darkness and even when he is mistaken as the villain. And it is so true when Harvey Dent speaks of the fate of a hero is  that ” You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight will go down in cinematic history as the Movie to Beat. It breaks the genre rule and doesn’t stick to any superhero movie formula. There is no genesis story and neither a  radioactive freak accident product. No global destruction plans. Actions yes, including a sommersaulting truck, a ringing phone in a place it shouldn’t be and a bank robbery.And as the climax is over,it leaves you so sad that it was Ledger’s last. Just 2 weeks before, I had skimmed through what Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher had to offer on the menu. And with Mr.Nolan’s 6 course meal with desserts by the side, I have lost the taste of all the previous meals.Dark Knight is FANTASTIC, FABULOUS and FLAWLESS. An EPIC movie in all aspects.

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11 thoughts to “Movie Review: The Dark Knight”

  1. I think the strength of the film does sit very much that it retains its focus on the Batman character when all around these even larger than life characters threaten to overshadow him.

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  2. Holy fuckin yeah!!

    Ledger gives the performance of his lifetime.
    You do not need to plead. He has to get the Oscar, or the Academy is gonna get so bloody busted!!

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  3. And oh btw, forgot to mention Sujoy, loved reading your review. All your reviews are so rich with words and very vivid in presentation. Good job!!

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  4. As Lee mentioned above, the best part is indeed that Heath Ledger wasn’t allowed to cast a shadow over the entire movie. It IS a BATMAN movie after all.

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  5. Hey! I just happened to come here via GB’s blog. And may I say it was worth the visit! A fantastic review: you have managed to capture the essence of Batman’s moral struggle without giving out too many spoilers & without much elaboration. And yes, completely agreed about the movie – it is indeed a masterpiece which deserves to be in the league of great epics …. Anyways, I am off to exploring the other offerings on your blog.

    Btw, I too have reviewed the movie on my blog, rather exhaustively – brevity ain’t my cup of tea 😉 …. Here’s the link:
    http://mindpuncture.blogspot.com/2008/07/dark-knight-is-shining-and-moving-piece.html

    Please do go through & leave your feedback when you have the time!

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  6. @Rajiv,

    Thanks for the visit Rajiv, and special thanks to GB 😛
    Hope you enjoy what I have to offer.
    I have read your review as well, and dropped a comment.
    Hope my blog posts keep you busy. 😛

    Peace,
    Sujoy

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  7. Great review dude. I loved this movie through and through and when I read your review, I could actually visualise the same feeling you have expressed. Great one!!!

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  8. … Madness is just a push away 😉 … awesome movie …

    PS: Its not Ledger’s last if u mean the movies 😉 ..
    … come 2009 he gives the parting shot 🙂

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