As it faded to black and dim lettering came into sight, the screen in front gave focus to the title of a film filled with the honour, intelligence and social reflection that is inspired by the world beyond our windows.
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight
As any review will tell you, The Dark Knight is a monumental and entertaining film. It documents the perpetual struggle of good and evil, both externally and within ourselves. Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, again reminding Kilmer and Clooney that some things, other people are just better suited for. Bale brings a vulnerable confidence to the role that I thoroughly appreciated. Batman is glorified by his sense of purpose, yet defined by the human frailty that refuses to allow Bruce to live up to his own expectations.Of Bale we are familiar, and seldom disappointed, but The Dark Knight reacquaints us with an icon of crime and lunacy that lingers long after the credits role.The Joker.Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker eerily seeps into your subconscious so quietly that when you find yourself enjoying his anarchy, its almost a mystery of how those thoughts appeared. The haunting luminosity of Ledger’s skill amid the shadow his death casts on the film act to create a villain so perfect, I’m nearly ashamed to only now mourn his passing. The Joker’s sense of purpose plays opposite to Batman’s as a batter plays opposite a pitcher. As Batman fights for some level of order to be restored, The Joker persistently tears away at the fabric of invisible parameters that bind together the separate worlds of good and evil.
The Joker’s hypothesis is that any man, no matter the good he fights to hold inside him is susceptible to the evil that lies beyond his glare.
Batman combats a host of mercenaries that play as pawns in The Joker’s game for universal chaos. The Dark Knight has but a limited amount of allies to join him in his battle, the least of which include a group of copycat Batmen who don mock Bat-suits and put themselves in harm’s way in a symbol of support for their hero and his quest.
Batman’s other allies in justice include Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Maggie Gyllenhal as my saviour from Katie Holmes’ dreadful Rachel Dawes, and Gary Oldman as Lt. Gordon.Two father figures of film also reprise their roles as Bruce Wayne’s trusted friends and advisors; Morgan Freeman as Wayne Enterprises CEO and Gadget Wizard Lucius Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred.Each supporting member makes this movie an opulent sum of its parts, while elegantly allowing Bale and Ledger to shine.The critics from “Too smart to like a popular movie” magazine feel Bale gives a lacklustre performance, while others decide to hurl schoolyard comments at Batman’s raspy voice. Surprisingly, some critics that enjoyed the film felt unsatisfied to find Bale’s Batman was outshone by Ledger’s Joker; yet this is the dynamic that I found most brilliant.In the scope of this movie, Batman’s place is behind The Joker, not within the spotlight that bears his symbol.
When anarchy and terror abounds, we hear not from those fighting for justice or speaking for peace. Unfortunately, when we turn on our televisions we are shown cries of terror, and the faces of evil. In a time of crisis, the place of a true hero belongs in the darkness; where his head can hide from crossfire. But that does not mean his message and his symbols of hope cannot be present within those that believe that good still exist.
Nolan’s The Dark Knight painted this reality so vividly truthful it seems the glare may have offended some.
From Momento to Batman Begins and now The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan has always had something to say. Yet never has Nolan’s social commentary and message to the masses been so loud as it is in this film’s twists and dialogue that span the last thirty minutes.
If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely
-Quoted from Batman Begins.
Christopher Nolan clearly has devoted himself to his ideals and in my opinion, become the eyes and voice of one of the best films in movie history. As we look around many of the rules and doctrines that currently govern our lives are slowly crumbling under the scrutiny of a quickly growing thinking population. A
paradigm shift is coming to the fate of right and wrong. Black and white are ominously giving way to the reality of grey we’ve consistently come to find more familiar. It is within that grey that greater decisions will be made, just as within darkness there’s always hope.So perhaps the tale of the shining White Knight is better left in a time of simpler struggles. A White Knight plays by the rules of his own inner kingdom and virtues, whereas the new hero, today’s hero, lives within his virtues but is intelligent and resilient enough to play within ours.