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I saw The Dark Knight last week.  I was anticipating this film for some time and it did not disappoint.  For those of you who know me, I can't simply give a "thumbs up/down" review.  So if you're in a hurry

I highly recommend this movie but I must warn you that it is dark, unhappy, disturbing, and emotionally exhausting.

If you're not in a hurry…

My general sense of the movie is that it is dark and disturbing.  I equate it to disturbing in the sense of Silence of the Lambs.  The story is excellent and superbly told.  The dialog is fantastic and the pace is probably perfect, especially considering the length of the movie (just a hair shy of 2.5 hours).  The movie is probably a solid 20 minutes too long.  An interview with Christopher Nolan revealed that extra footage was added to show more of Ledger's performance as this is truly his swan song.   Now for some specifics.

Production, Direction, Script, Setting, Cinematography, and Score
As with Batman Begins, this film is expertly delivered.  The production is bordering on flawless.  Not only are the sets ideal, the film shows the viewers what they want to see.  Christopher Nolan continues to prove himself one of the best storytellers available.  The script is excellent in that some limited humor is introduced but not forced.  The Nolan/Bale combination truly seem to understand not only Batman but also Bruce Wayne.  The story is delivered in such a way that these two characters are truly distinct (and I won't say more to avoid spoiling anything). 

The cinematography is great.  The camera angles and lighting add to each shot appropriately and produce an overall effect that is consistent throughout the film while at the same time adding to each scene the necessary level of emotion (tension, fear, hate, disgust, etc.).  Nolan impressed me with filming in Chicago (the original model setting for Gotham).  The score is interesting in that it is excellent but not always used.  I recall one scene in particular that was so tense and I remember thinking "This is tense and there is no music."  That alone impresses me and gives credence to both the score and the direction.

Story & Acting
The story is excellent and excellently told.  It is, of course, not very surprising for Batman aficionados.  For those of you who think Tim Burton and Joel Shumacher know Batman, please reconsider and watch Nolan (although Burton knows better than Shumacher).  As the stories are relatively well-known, you might think the film would be unsurprising and maybe even boring.  However, the story is so well delivered that it is tense and exciting yet time is given to breathe and relax.   The dialog is probably as perfect as any and is delivered with the kind of acting that only the greats can deliver. 

The movie is stacked with great acting including:  Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy, and Nestor Carbonell.  I am disappointed that Gyllenhaal didn't get more dialog.  She is a phenomenal actor.  The rest of the cast deliver flawless performances.  Oldman is so in character again that it is hard for me to remember who he is under that mustache.  Bale is superb in playing both characters (Batman and Wayne) and demonstrating the struggles between them.  At one point Batman makes a decision and Bruce Wayne must live with the consequences…and it hurts.  Aaron Eckhart continues to impress and his transition feels natural instead of forced. 

Regarding Heath Ledger's performance, I want to avoid giving it attention for the sake of attention due to his death.  However, I simply cannot overlook how impressive his performance is.  Everything about his performance shows his dedication and commitment to delivering, consistently, a difficult and complex character who is a chaotic evil homicidal, maniacal terrorist.  His voices, mannerisms, even the way he sits are delivered so well that it is disturbing.

So I recommend you see it…and if you have seen it let me know what you think.

Posted on Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:29 PM Entertainment | Back to top

Comments on this post: The Dark Knight

# re: The Dark Knight
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Its my favorite film of the year
Left by Ky on Aug 03, 2008 1:18 PM

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