The Dent Act

Discussion in 'The Dark Knight Rises' started by BatLobsterRises, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    I figure this probably deserves its own thread since it took center stage in the Characterization of The Knight thread. Maybe it's too late and the debate is dying down, but worth a shot, right?

    Anyway, here's my thought on the Dent Act:

    TDK established that Dent prosecuted 549 mob-related criminals. TDKR establishes that 1,000 men are in Blackgate "languishing" under the Dent Act and being denied parole.

    Logically, this seems to suggest that either the other some odd 500 are either previously convicted criminals (predominantly non-mob,) that are now being denied parole OR that the Dent Act has helped locked up more criminals, also without parole. Personally I think the second option makes more sense but the movie doesn't provide enough evidence to determine which is true. However, the one determination than can be made is that whether the Dent Act heightened police power or simply abused the judicial system or both, it turned Gotham into much more of a police state than it had previously been. And that is pretty much the point.

    More importantly though, denial of parole is, in fact, not the only change made by the Dent Act that's referenced in the film. We can't forget that Selina Kyle was locked up in that prison with all those mob thugs as the only female prisoner. That's extreme. The prison guard says that "The Dent Act allows non-segregation based on extraordinary need". So there, denial of parole is not the only statute of the Dent Act, this proven within the movie. No conjecture. And wouldn't it be pretty random if denial of parole and gender segregation are the only things the Dent Act changed? As if female crime was a huge problem in Gotham. This just illustrates how dominant and meticulous a piece of legislation the Dent Act had to have been.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  2. Anno_Domini

    Anno_Domini Well-Known Member

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    Through those eight years, I think that's when those other 500 or so criminals were detained/arrested/whatever. And Selina Kyle's criminal past was a huge factor on why she was sent to Blackgate Prison as well. If she worked with someone like Daggett then she could've worked with mobs beforehand as well.
     
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  3. TheBat812

    TheBat812 Well-Known Member

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    Imo the film definitely proves that the dent act has helped put away more criminals without parole given the opening of the movie praising the success of the dent act in making Gotham crime free.
     
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  4. Caped Crusader

    Caped Crusader Reign of Terror

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    False idol.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    Right, she had a huge record. My point was just that the movie shows that the Dent Act is more sweeping and powerful than a legislation that simply denies people who were already in jail parole. It allowed them to lock up a woman in an all-male facility, when that previously wouldn't have been possible in Gotham. Denial of parole and gender non-segregation are two aspects of the Dent Act we're explicitly told about, but common sense dictates that there has to be more to it in order for them to have wiped out organized crime as we're shown in the film. This is where a splash of imagination can do wonders.
     
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  6. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    You're letting your imagination run riot into conjecture that has no proof Batlobster. Two things you mentioned are related to criminals locked up in jail already. You know after they have been captured and sentenced in court. Locking up women in a male jail and no parole.

    How does either of those things take 500 more criminals off the streets and stiff them with heavy sentences? Spare the conjecture when you answer that one.
     
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  7. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    Actually, now that you mention it...when exactly was Selina sentenced in the film?
     
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  8. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    Some time between the airport scene and the Blackgate one. Blake said she was facing charges from the Senator.
     
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  9. FeedOnATreeFrog

    FeedOnATreeFrog (A Metal Gear reference)

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    I don't get what's up for debate here
     
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  10. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    I took it as she was awaiting trial, which made it seem more extreme that they'd throw her in Blackgate. Then again, time is a bit elastic in the film so it's tough to say. I'll buy it though.

    Anyhow, in my original post what I said was we have to account for those extra 500 one way or another. Even if you want to argue that the Dent Act did nothing to ease the process of prosecution mob, the point still remains that either more mobsters were locked up over the course of 8 years or that the Dent Act is denying parole to a bunch of other criminals with varying degrees of charges. Either way, the fact that the Dent Act allows the law to throw a female into an all male facility shows that it's infringing on what may be seen as "basic rights" of the criminals. And why would it stop at gender? Better yet why would it START at gender? There are questions just begging to be asked.

    I can't speak for everyone, but what I'm debating is simply that the Dent Act was something more than simply denying the men Dent locked up parole, and therefore its role in putting the mob out of business (as evidenced and implied in TDKR) can be seen as valid. Whether or not you one likes this as a plot device or not has become irrelevant in the discussion, and it seems we're simply debating whether or not Gotham being crime free after 8 years is too great a conceit for the film to make or not.
     
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  11. TheBat812

    TheBat812 Well-Known Member

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    When talking about a political act there would obviously be many laws within it. When the two that are described restrict rights or allow things that are not considered morally allowed in American society, the only logical assumption is that there must be more morally questionable laws that led to the extra inmates, which led directly to the low crime rate. Yes this is 'conjecture' but there is a difference between obvious correlations and the negative way you guys are using the term.

    Technically any thought about a film that isn't directly shown or said is conjecture. Hell even the interpretation of a phrase or image is conjecture. When put that way, neither of our interpretations are at all valid, so you neither win nor lose the argument. What a dull way to view art.

    Imo what were discussing is an incredibly obvious thing they allude to. It was obvious the very first time i watched it. It fits thematically, story wise, character wise and plot wise. I can see how one might disagree with the choice, but to deny that there is a correlation is confusing to me.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  12. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    ^ Exactly. For the Dent Act to actually work the way the film implies it does, it would probably have to be downright unconstitutional in some regards, or perhaps the constitution would have to be amended in order for it to be passed.

    It leans on the fact that this is a fictional city in an alternate universe close to our own, but not quite. It's a fictional bill that could probably never get passed in reality. But this is a reality in which a city relies on a masked vigilante to save them from a psychopathic clown who nearly single handedly cripples the mob and plunges the city into chaos. You either go along with it or you don't.

    Don't let the recent overuse of that word make you think that. "Conjecture" implies a conclusion based on insufficient evidence. Sometimes films leave things out and we are in fact meant to arrive at conclusions on our own based on surrounding evidence. Nolan does this all the time, and sometimes invites actual conjecture in the process (ending of Inception for example) of interpreting his films.
     
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  13. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    It's simple. The only pieces of info that the movie gives about how the Dent Act works is that it denies convicted criminals parole, and it lets women be put in the male wings of a prison.

    That's it.

    So some are wondering how did an Act that only affects people already in prison clean up a city as dirty as Gotham? The truth is the movie doesn't give any insight as to how it does that. That's where the waves of conjecture come in.
     
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  14. TheBat812

    TheBat812 Well-Known Member

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    ya, I meant simply in the way they were using the term, which would nullify any of their own arguments as well. Interpretation and vague information are a huge part of art in general.

    And joker, the implied value is there. You saying that it's nullified because they don't give you proof is ridiculous. What they show you in the movie does not in any way contradict itself, it just doesn't give you all the pieces directly. They do, as we've discussed, give you insight into the surface level issues that certainly hint at injustice within the act. I have yet to see an argument from you that actively proves your point, you just use no evidence to say our view is wrong when nothing suggests our theory to be wrong at all. Not enough evidence in either direction for a concrete analysis (although that line from the novelization and the few hints from the film certainly point to our theory being on the right path).
     
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  15. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    Quoting you from the other thread Joker hope you don't mind:

    What I've bolded is exactly what I'm trying to argue though. I'm saying that movie definitely suggests that the Dent Act was a strong, effective piece of legislation which is the only important thing. Two entirely separate and unrelated aspects of it are enough to form the idea that this thing is a huge bill.

    You are more than entitled to be unsatisfied with that explanation, just as myself and others are entitled to be content with it. If this movie actually centered around the mob and them being prosecuted like TDK was, it would be an entirely different issue and I'd agree with you that it's under-explained. But TDKR made the genre shift into war/disaster/epic, much like TDK made the genre shift to crime saga from superhero adventure, and I think this shift necessitated a different emphasis when it comes to certain story aspects. I love how genre fluid this trilogy is, that is why I'm fine with just accepting the Dent Act at "face" (heh, get it? :oldrazz:) value, despite me feeling that there is adequate evidence provided in the film to feel assured that it was a hardcore piece of legislation that devastated the mob.

    And to be honest, the only reason I personally keep coming back to this discussion is because I enjoy discussing the movie and in the course of thinking about this movie I personally come to love it more. That's been my experience since first seeing the film and reflecting on it. Also because I think it'd be nice to just agree to disagree. I'm still waiting for that to happen without being labeled a "conjecture-theorist" or w/e.
     
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  16. Anno_Domini

    Anno_Domini Well-Known Member

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    Although with Gotham City being clean of organized crime, you have to suspect that the Dent Act calls for much more even if not mentioned during the film.
     
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  17. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Where? Other than saying the city is clean because of it. That's the problem. How did it do that when all the movie says about it refers to criminals already in prison.

    So there is no implied value that makes a lick of sense.

    Why is it ridiculous. If you can't support an argument with any proof then spare me your fairy tale conjecture stories.

    If I want to read fan fiction I'll go to the fan fiction forum.

    It doesn't give you anything at all. No parole and putting women in a mans jail doesn't tell you diddly squat about how it removed organized crime from a city that was rotting from it.

    You've not given anything of the kind. Where are these surface level issues in the movie you've discussed?

    Well lets see:

    1. The movie says the Dent Act denies prisoners parole. How does that get rid of organized crime? It doesn't.
    2. It allows women in the male wings of prison. How does that stomp out organized crime? It doesn't.

    That's all I need because that's all there is in the movie about how the Dent Act works. All related to people already in prison. The onus is on the movie, not the audience, to provide the details of a fictional Act that had such radical repercussions on the city.

    The novelization has nothing to do with the movie. Novelizations deviate from the movies just like the comic book adaptions do.

    Not at all.

    That's like saying Batman is a great detective, but he knew something that he could not have figured out. Like in TDK, how did he know where Dent was with Thomas Schiff?

    The same with the Dent Act. You say it's a big fancy law that stomped out all crime, but the movie doesn't give any insight as to how it could have managed such a tremendous feat. It's not like it just managed to lower crime rates, it made them so low that Gordon was being made redundant.

    You don't just introduce something fictional like that and not explain how it works. Nolan has bent the laws before in the previous two movies, but at least he gave some kind of explanation as to how it worked in the context of his Batman world, even if it was not entirely realistic, he at least afforded his audience some kind of explanation and information.

    Why was such a major thing like the Dent Act, which cleaned up the city and made Batman redundant, not given any elaboration on how it worked other than telling us that it denies parole for convicted criminals?

    Exactly. That's the problem. We are being denied massive amounts of crucial info about something that had radical consequences on Gotham and several key characters.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  18. Anno_Domini

    Anno_Domini Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't call that a problem at all. Some huge exposition of what is all covered within the Dent Act would become quite boring. Maybe as some part of viral marketing, but during the film? It's not necessary, imo.
     
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  19. Victarion

    Victarion Iron Captain

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    After Lau was caught in TDK, he agreed to cooperate with Dawes and Dent. Since he had taken a chunk of the mob's assets to keep them safe, wouldn't he have information on his underworld clients that the police could put to good use?

    Edit: You can't look at what's being shown and infer the key points of the Dent Act? I figured that was what Nolan was going for this time around, rather than heavyhanded info dumps.
     
    #19
  20. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    I too preferred the sparsity in how they dealt with the Dent Act in the film. The two scenes in which its changes are discussed don't feel like force-fed exposition, which we know Nolan is sometimes guilty of. One moment (Selina being thrown in Blackgate) provides us a fun badass Selina moment, the other (Blake and Gordon) is a character driven, emotionally charged moment. It's enough to give you an idea without beating you over the head with it and making the film drag. No amount of exposition is really enough to give you the full story of 8 years, so I think the film was wise to avoid trying to explain it to death and leaving things to the viewer's inference and imagination. Too much explanation would violate the illusion of the passage of time I feel. The way it's presented in the film, it just feels like "this is the way it is", and Gotham has been living under these conditions for a while. The sparsity actually helps keep you in the here and now of the story, which is important from a writing standpoint.

    I also think we've been underestimating how devastated the mob was by the end of TDK. I always felt the only way the mob was coming back in a third movie was if they came back under the leadership of freaks (like Black Mask) and completely changed their game, became more unpredictable, ruthless, etc. It seemed certain that an inability to evolve would render them extinct in Gotham. Joker himself told them they were on their way out as he burned their cash. I understand that there's a thematic way to interpret his line about giving Gotham a "better class of criminal", and that it might allude to the rise of freaks, Batman's rogues gallery, etc. But in a literal sense he's also talking about taking over the Chechen's gang. Joker was right almost all the time in the movie, but he wasn't totally infallible. He was wrong about the ferries, he hadn't planned to get caught so soon and he couldn't foresee Batman taking the fall for Harvey, which is the moment that altered the course of the story going forward. It was Batman's ace in the hole.

    I will say...I do understand where the other side of the argument is coming from. Something like this bothered me in Iron Man 2. I wasn't a fan of Tony's blood being poisoned and him dying at the start of the movie. It didn't feel natural coming off the high note the first film ended on, seemed to come out of nowhere. Looking back though, I think I would have been able to get over that if I found that particular subplot led anywhere useful. Instead, it just felt like an excuse to throw in a "dark" but disjointed subplot with Tony curing himself that crammed in a bunch of Avengers setup and was not essential to the rest of the story. So I do get it. You feel like you had the rug pulled out from under you and got a different story than the one you felt should have been told. At the end of the day that's all it comes down to I think. All the disagreements that have played out on the boards, from the merits of the Dent Act, to Bane and the LOS's motivation for coming to Gotham, to Talia's role in the story, all consistently point to this conclusion. If you changed all those things you'd have a radically different movie. A better movie? I couldn't possibly say.
     
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  21. Caekzor

    Caekzor Well-Known Member

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    Here's a news article about 'The Harvey Dent Act' that came from the DewGothamCity site.

     
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  22. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    I bet everyone in the audience across the world read that before they went to see it. Not. It means zilch.

    Viral marketing = nothing. It's just promotion for fanboys. You think Nolan was telling something important about his movie there and not in the movie where it's guaranteed everyone will get it. Yeah don't think so.
     
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  23. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you missed it, but Lau was torched alive by the Joker. The J-man got their money back and went and burned his half of it. I didn't see the Chechen or Maroni or any other mob guys hauling ass after Lau got nabbed. Chechen went and congratulated Joker just before Joker burned Lau.

    So what else have we got? Lets hear it. Keep 'em coming.
     
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  24. BatLobsterRises

    BatLobsterRises Lobsterized

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    I wouldn't say viral marketing is nothing. It's peripheral, but for TDK I definitely considered it canon and part of the overall experience. Especially those Gotham Tonight videos that were included on the DVD. You can ignore it you want, but it doesn't contradict anything in the movie. In fact it usually serves to enrich the experience. I know for a fact that Jonah Nolan consulted with 42E on the TDK viral marketing, not sure about TDKR but I would imagine someone from the Nolan camp relayed info.

    Besides, let's call a spade a spade. You say only fanboys care about viral marketing? Newsflash, we're all fanboys arguing over fanboy detail stuff in this case. You think the general audience put this much thought into ramifications the Dent Act? No friggin' way. It's not even cited as one of these major flaws of the movie, and as we know there's quite the extensive list of plot holes and nitpicks all around the blogosphere. Nobody seemed to have much trouble grasping it, and it's not nearly as important to your average Joe as it is to us. That piece of viral merely confirms what you can infer from the movie. I didn't even see that piece DewGothamCity article until after I saw the movie, but it wasn't like it was a huge shock. It jived with what I had already gathered from watching the movie.
     
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  25. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    Viral marketing does mean nothing for the plots of the movie. Harvey Dent didn't investigate the Narrows incident and Crane's antics like he said he would in the Gotham tonight video. That was just fanboy crack to get people excited. Like everything else. It's all promotional hooey. As if you didn't know that.

    Of course Jonah had input. It was to appease the fanboys who would whinge about inconsistencies.

    Yes lets call a spade a spade:

    http://www.quora.com/The-Dark-Knigh...nconsistencies-holes-in-The-Dark-Knight-Rises

    Plenty more where that came from. The movie had way worse problems that the lame Dent Act and how they handled Dent's legacy on the city. Don't kid yourself that lots of people didn't notice it and disliked it.

    Keep 'em coming. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

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