The Dark Knight

It’s quite easy to review The Dark Knight. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, an absolutely incredible film. In its 152 minute running time, it packs in enough action, drama and sheer, unadulterated awesomeness to be spread across three films, and for each one to still be great. That’s how much happens in The Dark Knight. That’s how much jaw-dropping excellence this movie oozes from its every frame.

Christian Bale returns as our eponymous hero, as do Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Fox, while Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. There are two big additions to the cast, of course, in the form of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and, of course, the late Heath Ledger as The Joker. Let me be clear on one thing, right from the start: Ledger gives an outstanding performance, right from his wonderful entrance which sets the tone for his character perfectly. His constant twitching and apparent lack of any sense of self-preservation creates a sense of deep discomfort that permeates every crevice of the film, and his actions are all based around one simple concept – all it takes to reduce a society to flaming embers is to show its citizens that there are no rules. He is, as he so neatly puts it, “an agent of chaos”, a terrifying antithesis of civilised society. A man who kills, mains and destroys for no other reason than because he can.

But to write off The Dark Knight as merely Heath Ledger’s performance would be to ignore two other stellar performances, from Bale and Eckhart. Bale is superb as Batman, filling the characters requirements in a manner previously only achieved by the voice of Kevin Conroy in Batman: The Animated Series. Eckhart gives probably the most underrated performance of the film, but turns in a truly great performance as Harvey Dent, brilliantly capturing the fatal slide from the idealistic sense of justice and right to the darkness of revenge and retribution that he embodies.

It is difficult to make this review anything other than a list of platitudes, but then again, the film deserves them, as it truly is a masterful work from every angle. The design and feel of the film is, once again, every piece as wonderfully gritty and dark as Batman Begins, while Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard do a wonderful job on the score, with the film opening to a dull whine, difficult to determine whether it’s dialectic or not, that gently gets louder and louder, bringing with it a wonderful sense of brooding unease that perfectly suits the film’s tone.

So, to surmise – The Dark Knight is easily the best film I have seen this year (with seemingly only WALL•E, which I have yet to see, standing any chance of besting it), and rightly deserves to take its place among the greatest films of all time, a testament to the power of film to tell a story and a reminder of the potential for awe and wonder that it can create. Superb. A+.

5 comments:

Comic said...

Spot on review. The animated film Batman Gotham Knight is also well worth a watch. Kevin Conroy comes back to do the voice and it's produced by the same people who made The Dark Knight.

Dibbler said...

Cheers mate.

Yes, Gotham Knight is very good - great to see (or rather hear) Kevin Conroy back. Very similar to the Animatrix in its concept, but better executed, more coherent and of more substance, I felt.

Bock the Robber said...

Ah well, now, steady on. It's a good movie, certainly. An outstanding movie, even. But among the greatest movies of all time? There's surely an element of exaggeration there.

As Dunphy would say, a good movie, but not a GREAT movie.

After all, if Batman DK is among the greatest movies of all time, what words have we left to describe a truly great movie when we see it?

Patrick Roberts said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight... it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted

Dibbler said...

Personally, I preferred Maggie Gyllenhaal in the role - she felt a far more appropriate choice for the role. I really can't see Katie Holmes having pulled off the scene in the warehouse.