Saturday, 26 July 2008

A Knight's Tale


I've seen it.

The Dark Knight; a film I'd been so hungry for since the early days of that remarkable viral campaign... since Batman's flipping over of that calling card at the end of the last one, in fact... a film that was destined to have geekdom in a fever without Heath's sad and premature death adding to the frenzy...

... but was it THE film of the year thus far, to quote the early US reports?

Well, I'm reluctant to get caught up in hyperbole for hyperbole's sake, nor sentiment for sentiment's sake. That's always a danger, and I know I can be prone to it. So I'll just try and stick to the facts:

1) With Heath's performance, we finally have the Joker as originally created: a maniacal and unpredictable and FUNNY catalyst for chaos. You will not see Heath anywhere on that screen, only a clown with no origin who will leave a trail of destruction and death and pain in his wake. He's not a man, nor a beast, nor an icon. He just is. Can anyone fill Heath's shoes for a future installment? Yeah: Ben Whishaw (Perfume, I'm Not There), but it won't be easy. And would Heath be worthy of an Oscar next year? For sure. Check out that disappearing pencil magic act. The best intro to a character I've seen for years...

2) Aaron Eckhart gives Harvey Dent the soul he needs for us to invest in his fall from grace. He makes us care, and makes us genuinely believe in a DA of integrity in a city of rampant corruption. I BELIEVE IN HARVEY DENT, I really do.

3)The script is crafted so that no one gets left in the shade of the Joker. Wayne/Batman, Dent, Gordon, Rachel, all have depth and breadth and the performances fill them well. Maggie Gyllenhaal slips into Katie Holmes' role well, and you don't miss Mrs Cruise in the slightest (no offence :-)). And Bale, of course, is solid.

4) The effects will leave you wondering how on earth they did Two-Face's deformity. A fantastic, horrific design that serves the character well.

5) The action - not Nolan's strong point, let's be honest - is still gripping and pumping. He's learning on the job and coping well. With the likes of him and Marc Forster and others, Hollywood has a future...

6) The film may be relentlessly dark, but thank goodness the Nolans (and Goyer if he played a part in this detail) have retained some glimmer of hope in the climax. The people of Gotham City - both ends of the spectrum - reaffirm a faith in mankind that we needed all along. EVIL WILL NOT WIN.

I'll leave it there. I could go on forever about every detail, and have already said more than I intended. Don't wanna fall into the usual trap of getting carried away. You may notice I do that...

...so, was it THE best film of year thus far?

Absolutely.

1 comment:

Blaney Bible Blog said...

Ok--I know that this is going to show me as the completely uncool, de-hip, over-the-hill, out-of-touch 40 something that my kids already claim that I am but...what bit in the last movie when he flicks the calling card over? (Have I missed a film?)