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Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Brief Review of "Dark Knight"

[Contains spoilers- read at your own risk]

So I finally saw "Dark Knight."

It was a complex story with some clever writing. It was well-cast and featured excellent performances from all its principles.

Nolan's and Ledger's Joker was particularly excellent. He was spot on as an "agent of chaos." That's exactly how the character should be portrayed.

While I appreciate the movie, I think I didn't especially like it. I don't plan to get it on DVD (or even download it).

"Dark Knight" borrowed a lot of interesting elements from Frank Miller's excellent "The Dark Knight Returns," but didn't commit to Miller's vision of Batman as a bit of a fascist anti-hero. Nolan's Batman in this new film had no discernible personality or philosophy except wavering commitment to his mission- which is antithetical to ANY good interpretation of the character and even betrays the character as established in "Begins."

Again, Nolan shows that he's not good at portraying action. The car chase and the hand-to-hand combat were awkwardly choreographed and shot/edited in a way that made it difficult to follow what was happening. They way he portrayed the "sonar" thing with the cell phones was an absolute failure.

Batman deciding to cast himself as a villain so Harvey Dent could be cast as martyred hero didn't work for me. This decision serves neither of the character's major drives (to be a symbol to the righteous and a scourge to the criminal) and is, again, out of joint with the character's best incarnations (including the one in "Begins").

There was less fun...less this film than there was in Miller's "Dark Knight Returns." Being gritty doesn't mean you have to suck all the fun out of a story.

Lastly, the movie didn't really SAY anything. One could argue that it makes the statement that people will reject chaos...because the people on each boat didn't blow the other boat up...but this is so obviously removed from what people would REALLY do that it stands out as contrived, defeating the point it might've made. So what is the movie about?

Not a BAD film, but nowhere near as good as so many have made it out to be.


r_b_bergstrom said...

Highly informative review. I'll be waiting till netflix gets it after all. Thanks, Daved!

Dan M. said...

David, absolutely terrific review. 'The Dark Knight' is indeed a joyless 150 minute dirge. Seriously, I wish I had millions in my bank account, so I could pay you to go around to sci-fi conventions around the country and stand up in seminars and orate what you've just written here.

David said...

Thanks for the comment, Dan! I'm flattered that you read this blog! :)

When you find yourself in posession of those millions, I'll take that job.