The Dark Knight is no Joke(r)

Posted in Batman, movie, review by Tony C on August 19, 2008

In a recent episode of Common Sense with Dan Carlin the ebullient host asked why do American directors often seem get American comic and superhero movies so wrong whilst the foreigners more often than not seem to get them right?  He used the post Tim Burton Batman movies as an example,  not even Alicia Silverstone in tight rubber could save George Clooney’s outing as the Caped Crusader, and compared it to how well Christopher Nolan has portrayed the Dark Knight.  As usual Carlin is spot on as once again Nolan proves not only does he understand the American superhero genre but also that Batman is not a franchise you lighten in anyway.  If in doubt go dark.

And dark it is too, a full on one hundred and fifty two minutes of darkness, it rarely flags although I think one set piece could have been cut and you’d never notice.  It’s not quite the assault on the senses one or two reviewers have claimed but neither is there too much introspection on the part of any of the characters to punctuate the action.  Christian Bale I think is excellent as Bruce Wayne and with Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine along for company how could he not?  Gary Oldman makes the oft forgotten Commissioner Gordon worth watching too.

The hype surrounding this movie has obviously been centred on the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker and his unfortunate death not long after filming, and whilst he does a great job of redefining The Joker I’m not sure it’s the Oscar winner many claim.  It’s full on psychotic madman to be sure but there’s no subtlety or any reason as to ‘why’, that is of course the point of the character but also why The Joker is one or two dimensional at best.  Don’t get me wrong he is very, very good but as Mrs C and I discussed on the way back from the cinema Ledger’s Oscar winning performance was of course Brokeback Mountain which The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences missed.

I’m guessing by now anyone who is interested in the movie has already been to see it. But if by some bizarre coincident you haven’t, maybe you’re still waiting for that promised delivery from Argos or for the summer to actually start and can’t believe it’s August, I reckon you need to see it on the big screen as even the largest of TVs won’t do it justice.

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