Christopher Nolan’s game-changing Dark Knight is a decade old! Here’s my contemporaneous review.
It makes a whole lot of sense that the second film in Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise is called The Dark Knight. After all, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns revived the moribund comic book industry (together with Watchmen) and challenged fans to take the super hero a bit more seriously than before.
The Dark Knight is indeed dark and intense. Nolan’s basic premise is a realistic Batman. There are no frills and no flights of fancy. So, taken to its logical conclusion, the character of the Joker takes on sinister elements that will escape many casual filmgoers. Believe me, The Dark Knight is not a movie for young children or maybe anyone with low tolerance for the darker side of life. Basically, those who expect a light and sunny comic book movie, may be shocked.
Not only that but the film contains so many twists and turns that it will constantly keep you on your toes. There is no let up in the plot exposition – and even the action sequences deliver a pay off in terms of advancing the story forward. No time wasted even if the film clocks in at almost two and a half hours.
I must confess that I gagged when I first learnt that the late Heath Ledger had landed the coveted role of the Joker. But Ledger pulls it off magnificently and the folks who have demanded a posthumous Oscar nomination for Ledger’s performance should be taken seriously.
In fact, all the main cast put in sterling work – Christian Bale’s flawed & conflicted Bruce Wayne is well contrasted by the snarling and stern Batman and Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent is an interesting study into the thin line between good and evil. Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldham (Lt Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes) all put in creditable performances.
But it is Nolan who puts it all together with an epic film that contains depth and pathos never seen before in the comic book movie genre. That said, certain plot elements were hard to discern by the editing choices which to me is the only flaw in this almost perfect masterpiece.
In the film, the Joker asks, “Why so serious?” which is ironic considering how seriously this film takes the entire Batman mythos. I believe with The Dark Knight, Nolan has transcended the super hero genre and delivered a gritty crime story that comments heavily on the definition of good and evil and the choices we have to make in these frightening times.
… still there’s more …