Sunday, September 7, 2008

the Dark Knight

Wowee Zowee!!!

As regular readers know, we don't get to the movies as often as we'd like.

For months now, we've been trying to see the Dark Knight, just missing it several times. When I discovered that it was still showing here in Santa Fe, off we went.

A bit of history here . . .

Ever since I saw Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, I've been a fan of Christian Bale. The film featured a stunning performance by a then twelve year old Bale, and I've followed his career ever since. If you've never seen this film, I highly recommend it, as well as the semi-autobiographical J. G. Ballard novel on which it is based. Amazing experiences both.

But back to Bale.

Watching him through the years, I'm always impressed with the chances he takes and the variety of roles he's willing to tackle.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I heard that Christopher Nolan was reinventing the Batman franchise and had pegged Christian Bale for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Just a year prior the pair had done impressive work in the Prestige. This sounded intriguing!

And I wasn't disappointed at all, I thought Batman Begins was just about perfect.

Then some months ago I read about the Dark Knight. Again, written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale (as well as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, returning in their roles from the original), this looked promising.

But the big word was that Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker. Wow, this sounded great. I've enjoyed Heath Ledgers' work for a long time. When I first saw him in 10 Things I Hate About You, he was obviously on his way up. Then came the Patriot, Monster's Ball and finally his jaw dropping performance as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. The boy had the chops, there was no question about it.

But a super villain? Hmmm . . .

Then I saw the makeup for the Joker and I have to admit I was immediately turned WAY off.

I was determined to not read all the reviews and just make up my own mind (even though it took months for me to finally see the film.

All I can say is Just Amazing!

This is some movie, unlike anything I've ever seen before.

You walk into the theater expecting a dark, well made action film.

And it's certainly all that, but also, so much more.

Let me start with the acting. As much as I love to watch Christian Bale, Heath Ledger owns this film. Yes, the makeup is macabre and grotesque, but you know what? It's also perfectly apropos for this character.

And after about five minutes, you've become so fascinated with the character, the makeup just doesn't matter. This is the most complete and convincing character I've seen on film in years.

And of course Christian Bale is great as well as Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart, superb to an man.

So we've established that the acting is first class, a real cut above anything I've seen in quite a while.

But then there's the story and the script.

Don't be misled, this is no rock em, sock em, shoot em up. Although it has elements of that genre, this film delves right into the very nature of Good and Evil, the choices we make every day as to how we will live our lives, the reality of how terrorism affects us, the moral choices that are made by both ordinary people and those who govern every day.

Heavy, thought provoking stuff and beautifully presented in an entertaining manner,

Go see this film, it's a knockout.

And I hope Heath Ledger gets an Oscar. What a loss his untimely death is to us all.

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