#123 The Dark Knight

A two and a half hour explosive extravaganza, Batman: The Dark Knight feels as much like an interactive theme park ride as a cinematic experience. Director Christopher Nolan has truly mastered the art of the action film. He knows the power of the pregnant pause, the calm before the storm and the surprise attack and holds your nerves teetering on the edge of a cliff. And it’s so much fun, you might just jump.

The film broke nine world records in its first five days playing in the States, which is as much a testament to Nolan’s genius as it is to the spotlight cast on the late Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker. His was a maniacal, schizophrenic and cold performance, whose random acts of terror reflected the randomness of his character – with no consistent backstory and a distinct lack of cronies, this terror told a punchline he alone seemed to get.

I personally preferred Aaron Eckhart’s performace as Harvey Dent/Two Face. His gut wrenching descent from hero to villain was so well characterised that when he finally hit rock bottom the audience’s collective empathy was palpable. Add to that the tension between Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, the three noble characters with no personal agendas – Michael Caine’s Alfred Pennyworth, Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman’s Lt. James Gordon, and a killer plot with so many twists and turns you don’t know which way is up, and you’re presented with an action film that surpasses its Blockbuster roots and is catapulted into Oscar territory.

“The night is darkest right before the dawn. But I promise you. The dawn is coming…”

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