Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

An interesting combination—a vacation in Daytona Beach with two grandchildren, a movie theater next door, and three rainy days. The result—seeing three movies in three days (but a couple out of necessity rather than desire). So what did we see? Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D, Wall-E (with the younger grandchild), and The Dark Knight. I am sure that each film has its merits, but my favorite was the latest Batman offering, The Dark Knight.

Director Christopher Nolan has once again produced a remarkable addition to the Batman mythos. Christian Bale is back with just the right balance of self-doubt and righteous anger as the Caped Crusader. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman return in small but essential roles as the men who keep Bruce Wayne grounded. Aaron Eckhart gives an excellent performance as the courageous and unfortunate Harvey Dent. Maggie Gyllenhaal is so good as Rachel Dawes that you forget that Katie Holmes played the role in the previous movie. Gary Oldman is outstanding as Lt. Gordon; his character may be the most three-dimensional in the film. Of course, the late Heath Ledger as the Joker is the performance that is most discussed and with good reason. Ledger’s character embodies not only evil but chaos. The term used for the Joker is “terrorist” and it fits well. Here is a villain not motivated by money but by a desire to challenge the morality of the good citizens of Gotham City and their leaders, attempting to show them up as venal and self-absorbed while inciting them to anarchy.

As in Batman Begins, this is a morality tale, but this time it is played out on a larger stage. This is not just about one man’s demons; it is the struggle that all people face to make sense out of their lives and be more than they ever imagined they could be. The movie is densely plotted with lots of action but with great dialogue and character development as well. This may well be the best movie of the summer.

1 comment:

movie kingdom said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...