Review: The Dark Knight
Standing in a ridiculously long line to get into the theater to watch Dark Knight, we spotted a grown man wearing full Joker face make-up. Given that it was 95-degrees out, I imagine he spent the rest of his day scrubbing melted make-up out of his upholstery. At least he could console himself with the knowledge that it was TOTALLY WORTH RUINING HIS CAR. This is the kind of sacrifice Dark Knight inspires in its fans. It’s comic book film-making at its very best.
The cast? Phenomenal. Thank god they ditched Katie Holmes, whose former performance as Rachel Dawes feels like a kid playing dress-up compared to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s cool composure. And while Gyllenhaal still resembles the sad girl you knew in high school who was always inking angry poems on her forearms, there is something magnetic about her doe-eyed wistfulness. I wasn’t as impressed with Aaron Eckhart’s good-boy turn as Harvey Dent but to be fair, the Dent role was probably the most thin and one-dimensional of the entire cast.
But you don’t really care about Gyllenhaal and Eckhart do you? You want to know about Heath Ledger. His Joker was just as brilliant as you’ve heard. A complicated mix of leering sociopathy and charm. Possibly the greatest villain we’ve encountered since Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. I pity the person who will have to pick-up the helm from Ledger. Unless that person is Edward Norton in which case I will be totally psyched.
And while I’m still a little wary of Christian Bale and his muskrat teeth, he is winning me over as Batman. Although I did catch myself snickering here and there at the raspy, deep-voice he uses whenever he’s in the Batman costume. He’s Batman, not Marlboro Man, Bale.
Now onto director Christopher Nolan, who shall be heretofore known as “The Jesus Christ of Cinema.” I’ve said it before but if he directed me out of my driveway each morning, it would definitely win an Oscar. Nolan practically assaults the audience in Dark Knight with a non-stop barrage of violence, brutality and action. That level of action combined with the sub-stories of so many characters makes the film feel overloaded at times, but we were happy to be along for the ride.
Emerging from the theater back into daylight and reality, I felt dazed and wrung out, as if I’d ingested a gallon of Red Bull and crawled through an automatic car wash. But then I saw the nerd with white make-up dripping all over the carpet and I felt like all was right with the world again.