Saturday, July 19, 2008
the dark knight
i've never seen anything quite like this movie. it's astounding. this was not the wonderful ride of "Iron Man," at the end of which i and everyone else in the theater clapped with joy. this is a movie that takes you down, down, down into sacred places. places of heroism. and ugliness. and beauty and hope and possibility. and loss.
heath ledger's performance of The Joker is stunning; jack nicholson's joker was a rube compared to this complex, troubled, truth-telling psychopath.
but the rest of the cast are excellent as well; christian bale as bruce wayne / batman does a beautiful job of balancing the dilemma this story gives The Batman: how do you maintain your sense of self, and honor, and responsibility, in a seemingly incoherent universe, against enemies on both sides, and not lose your confidence and strength? what if what you're attempting to do seems only to be making things worse?
aaron eckhart as harvey dent, maggie gyllenhaal, michael caine, morgan freeman - even eric roberts - everyone is excellent. complicated. troubled. hopeful. especially gary oldman, whose lieutenant gordon is bearing perhaps the heaviest burden of anyone in the story.
as i said earlier today to bob c, this is a crime drama, a jarring and frightening suspense movie, a meditation on good and evil, a challenge to beliefs and assumptions about order and chaos and human nature; it's a collection of psychological studies, a descent into despair, a call for hope, a horror movie with a mass murderer stalking citizens, a story of love and loyalty. and it's got kickass action. and brilliant, subtle, serious acting.
it demands a response from its viewers, like "Do The Right Thing." it pits a man willing to serve with a code of honor against a man who has no conscience, like "No Country For Old Men." it studies men facing corruption and what it does to them, like "The Departed." it studies layers of power and their seductive quality, like "The Godfather." it presents people in the crucible of deciding what their role will be, and whether they'll pick up the task asked of them, even if it is sure to end in despair, like "The Return Of The King."
and it is very much the Jesus stories.
this is not a comic book movie. it's way more than that.
so, don't take small children. and don't go in without a willingness to look within yourself and at the world you live in - and to consider what your response will be to your role in that world.