Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Dark Knight: In Review

I've had the wonderful opportunity to watch an early screening of my most anticipated film of the year, the sequel to Christopher Nolan's rebirth of the Batman franchise in IMAX and I must tell you, if you have a movie theatre showing this film in your city with the IMAX experience, you should offer yourself the ride because it is a spectacle meant for the biggest screen.
For everybody who were waiting to see Heath Ledger as the Joker, we witness the work of a great actor. He brings so much poise and charisma to a role so complex in its own, it is mesmerizing to watch him steal every scene he is involved in. Nolan brilliantly directs both Ledger and Bale so that we may understand that these two characters are completely opposite in the simple view of good and evil, but both of them are driven and flawed in their own ways by their beliefs, their morals and their flaws. It is not that they need or complete each other like ying and yang, but they chose different paths based on their nightmares of the past.
The film is complete with spectacular visual effects, wild car chases and fist fights but even though the movie is loud with explosions, the true power rests within the dialogue and the characters who are faced with great dilemmas throughout the film. Rachel (Gyllenhaal easing her way successfully into replacing Holmes) must choose which man she will stand by, Lucius must decide whether to help Batman find the Joker by spying on everybody, Alfred must decide whether to give an important letter to Bruce from Rachel and we must stop on Harvey Dent for a minute.
Aaron Eckhart gives a fantastic performance as Harvey because he goes through the most horrible transformation. As a district attorney, he becomes the savior of Gotham Bruce Wayne aspires to be, what he cannot do as Batman by bringing criminals to justice the legitimate way, hence his dubbed White Knight nickname. Unfortunately, the price for doing right in Gotham is putting his neck up for grabs by the thugs out to get him. It is a beautiful thing to watch him become Two-Face, as he goes from a charming and responsible man to a mad driven character who only looks at the ugly sides of people and situations on a path of destruction.
This film is an improvement on past Batman films because it reminds us how even though superheroes are put here to protect us, they are also deeply human and complex and we cannot see things in black and white because that is not the way of the world or the human being. It is something we rarely witness on film in a superhero flick, perhaps because people expect a lot of action and needn't ask to understand these characters, but it is important to understand their actions. Iron Man earlier this summer gave us a hero terribly flawed in his actions but understands the ways of his errors and rised up to save people. Here, Bruce Wayne becomes Batman to protect the people, but he uses justice by taking the law in his own hands and is blamed for his actions (or inactions) when people are harmed. For that he is an outcast, doomed to be alone, but in the final action of the film, we understand why he really is a hero: it is not because he is labeled the outcast, but because he chooses to be, to stand by what he believes is right.
There is some hype as to whether this film should be considered for Best Picture (yes, I've read this on the Net), but I think people should remember this film as it is: one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Heath Ledger will get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal (I'd have to wait to January after seeing all the other upcoming films before deciding whether or not he should win), it should get a nom for Cinematography as well. On the maybe side, Original Score as well as the Sound categories, but we're still a long way from the announcements. I encourage you to see this film very much.
Rating : 4/4

1 comment:

Jaccstev said...

For sure, I'll really agree if Ledger become one contender of Oscar Best Supporting Actors this year. His acting as Joker is so great and phenomenal.