Join Date: Aug 2004
My review for The Dark Knight
i've been following the production for The Dark Knight since the days when they were doing pre-production work on the movie--so yes i was pretty spoiled for everything. i knew about the plot, the set designs, costumes, locations, even the lottery of actors being considered for The Joker and Two Face. i followed main production at Chicago, London and Hong Kong very closely, so a lot of the things we saw in the movie i knew the behind the scenes tales of how they got those shots. but despite my level of "spoilerage", this movie totally blew me away. it truly attests the talent of Christopher Nolan and crew to tell a very compelling and enrapturing story.
possible spoilers in the acting review
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Christian Bale as always gave a stand out performance in the dual role of Batman/ Bruce Wayne, but being a Balehead i wasnt surprised at the level of consistency and intensity of his work. that has always been the norm in whatever role Bale takes on. i'm just glad that his talent is finally being recognized on a global scale. and i must say that although Bale is an excellent actor that has proven to be very capable of bringing any role to life, for the role of Bruce Wayne/ Batman, he just shines in it. there's just something about this character that fits him like a glove, like he was born to play this role. i know it has been realized three years ago, but it has to be said again: Christian Bale is the definitive Batman, the way Christopher Reeve was the definitive Superman.
the late Heath Ledger. first off, i want to give a posthumous apology for ever doubting the man and his ability to excel in his craft. its true that when he was first announced to take on Batman's most iconic villain i was one of those who wailed at his casting. the subsequent release of the first Joker photo made me feel disgusted and creeped out, a reaction i welcomed since i knew director Chritopher Nolan was on the right track, but i still had doubts that Ledger had the chops to pull it off. now this movie has sealed it for me. a bit too late unfortunately but hey better late than never. Ledger's performance as the Joker is not only mesmerizing, it redefines the portrayal of a comic book villain. he gives respect to the character's comicbook roots but has also given him a true-to-life credibility of a real psychopathic criminal. Ledger achieved every aspect of what the Joker is: he was comical but also demented, graceful as well as violent, he claims to be simply an agent of chaos but is revealed to be the devil himself pulling the strings.
Aaron Eckhart must also be given due accord as Harvey Dent/ Two-Face, lest his winning performance be overlooked by the more prominent Joker. i've been a comic book fan for years and i always felt that there was just something sinister about Harvey Dent, but Eckahart portrayal of him made me believe in Harvey Dent: the good guy, the crime fighter, the White Knight of Gotham, the guy least likely to turn to the dark side. which makes Harvey's fall from grace even more tragic. and for all the crimes Two-Face does afterwards, you'd be hard pressed to hate him.
Gary Oldman, again someone i deemed too young for the role but totally blew me away when i saw him in Batman Begins.what is wonderful about Oldman's performance in this film (other than the fact that he's always so mesmerizing to watch) is that he perfectly captures the strife that Gordon experiences as a man of the law amidst shady cops trying to turn over a new leaf (and not always succeeding). at the end of this i felt that Gordon himself should be given some kind of award for being such an outstanding crimefighter despite the fact that he doesnt always have the means to do his job effectively.
and i thank all that is holy for Maggie Gylenhaal for taking over the role of Rachel Dawes. heck they should've hired Maggie for the role since Batman Begins. Maggie brings credibility, spunk and pizazz that makes a totally believable Assistant DA, and not the cheerleader/ reporter lightweight that was Katie Holmes.
then we have the irreverent Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Wayne Enterprise's CEO and Batman's Tech Guru. given my familiarity with Fox's comic book roots i expected those roles to permeate the films. what i didnt expect is for him to take on those roles at the same time. although i like seeing Fox the tech whiz onscreen, i'm a little saddened by the fact that this version of Batman seems to be dependent on him to come up with most of the cool gadgetries instead of inventing them himself (as he is known to do). in any case, Freeman's Lucius Fox is so watchable he always brings a smile on my face, i dont care if all he does is sit and look at the other guy. and although not quite as flashy as the other actors in their roles, has managed to influence at how the character is portrayed even in the comics. now that's making an impact! and unexpectedly this line made me laugh in more ways than one: "Let me get this straight. You think that your employer, one of the richest men in the world, is spending his nights running around the city beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands? And your plan is to blackmail him? Good luck with that." LOL!
Sir Michael Caine, as always is such a pleasure to watch, reprising his role as loyal butler/ father figure Alfred Pennyworth. Caine had most of the movie's memorable lines (the others being given to The Joker and Harvey Dent) and gave the most apt description of the Joker in the movie: "..Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." beautiful!
so, question of the hour is: does Heath Ledger deserve an Oscar for his performance?
perhaps, but if that be the case then the rest of the cast must be recognized as well. their performance may not be as flamboyant as Ledgers (i mean who can be? none of their roles are as outrageous as the Joker), but it doesnt mean that their work was any less significant. but if there is one important thing that Ledger's Oscar nomination (and possible win) will achieve is that it will prompt the Academy to take genre movies more seriously. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure and similar themed movies are usually overlooked by the Academy for outstanding acting performances. i mean with Harry Potter, despite all the fantastic English veteran actors that has graced the franchise, has any of them been nominated? not one. the last time the Academy acknowledged any acting work from such films was Sir Ian McKellen's Gandalf in LOTR. prior to that you'd have to look 30 years back, to Sir Alec Guiness' role as the elder Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. and neither of them won. if Ledger miraculously wins the Oscar for Joker, his will be the first win for a genre movie in the acting category.
Oscar-mongering aside, The Dark Knight is a great movie, definitely the best movie of the summer and quite possibly, best movie of the year. i highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good dark movie. One word of advice: The Dark Knight may have a PG-13 rating, but please leave the kids at home, this is not the Cartoon Network Batman and, as one reviewer has said, is truly just a few blood drops shy of an R rating.