Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Dark Knight

A bank robbery. A lone man, with a hunched back, a bag in one hand and a mask in another.

During the robbery, the robbers start killing each other. A robber points the gun towards his fellow robber, the Joker, and wonders if the Joker is instructed to kill him as well.

“No, no, no. I kill the bus driver.” As the Joker looks at his watch.

“Bus Driver. What bus driver?”

Bus smashes through the door, right on time, and the robber falls and gets killed with a piece of wood and some shattered glass. In fact, the robber falls to the ground even before the piece of wood comes at him. But all a quick cut. Chop. Chop.

Very impressive planning though. What if the robber had merely shot the Joker and not bothered to ask a question? All a matter of chance really. Heads, tails, flip a coin.

Planning. Scheming. Mobsters. Enter the Joker with a proposition.

“I’m gonna make this pencil disappear.”

“Ta-da. It’s..It’s gone”. Fast cut. In slow motion, there is no pencil but as the mobster falls to the ground, a dark pencil like object appears stuck to his eye.

So what is the grand plan?

“It’s simple. We, uh, kill the Batman.”

“You wanna know how I got these scars.” No, not really. But I am sure you are going to tell me, over and over.

”Why so serious”? Silence.

Killings. Explosions. Terror. Chaos. No planning but random acts of terror. The Joker is the new terrorist of Gotham. Although, if the acts of terror are actually random then why are there clues as to the next victim or even the next location?

The girl gets captured in the fund raiser.

“Let her go”. says the Batman.

“Very poor choice of words.” Indeed.

Revenge. Fast action. Bat mobile self-destructs. But look slowly. As a man in a parked car attempts to look at his teeth in his side view mirror, the mirror gets taken out by a speeding Batman on his bike. Then there are two kids pretending to fire an imaginary machine gun at some parked cars. The cars then explode and one can detect awe and surprize in the kids eye. These two humor scenes are an ode to Spider Man 3, scenes one would find in any bad Hollywood summer movie but here they are presented in a “dark” movie. Even though the scenes halt the tension and expose the film for what it is really is. But shhhh...listen.

More explosions. Bullets. Blast. The Capture. Mission accomplished. The arrest and then the interrogation with the terrorist, err the Joker.

“No, complete me.”

No. The war is not over. Corruption. And the terrorist’s henchmen carry out their plan. Insurgency?

“You see, I’m a guy of simple taste.” “I enjoy...dynamite..and gun powder...and gasoline. And you know the thing that they have in common? They’re cheap.”

Is gasoline that cheap? Not what the papers were saying a few months ago. Ok, ok cheaper than guns. But shhh...Money burning. A new boss is in town.

“Beautiful. Unethical. Dangerous. You’ve turned every cell phone in Gotham into a microphone.”

Spying. Power. Resignation. “null-key encryption.” Audio match. What kind of software would be able to get a direct match with live streaming audio data from millions of cell phones against one audio sample? No idea that the Batman was an expert computer programmer as well.

Ethics, choice -- criminals vs innocent citizens. “Social-experiment”. Turn all good into evil or merely pull off the mask of innocence to expose the savage animal that lurks within everyone? Two-face. Fallen white knight Harvey Dent. And even bigger apparent fall of the Dark Knight. The Batman has to take the blame, all for the greater good. Dent was a Hero. Must preserve people’s faith. You see, the ordinary citizens have no hope so they need to believe. Otherwise, they might not believe in anything. So they must be fed lies, white lies, so that they can continue to believe in their white knight.

Oh the hype. The greatness. There is so much greatness here that even the contrived script events are not noticeable. The cuts are so fast that that one does not notice the few nods to B-grade Hollywood films. Ah so much greatness. The film moves from act of terror to another. Lights, ok, fine no lights. Camera and action, lots of it. Just another Hollywood summer blockbuster, shot better and shrouded in darkness. Heath Ledger steals the show as the Joker, Christian Bale seems to get a deep cold everytime he puts on the Bat Suit, Maggie Gyllenhaal does a great impression of Katie Holmes and Aaron Eckhart takes his No Smoking lobbying role and turns it into a lobbying for justice role before his character seeks solace in evil. A few phrases here and there about ethics and chaos and a story about jewels in Burma. Burn the forest. Smoke him out. And can’t forget those scars?

“You wanna know how I got these scars.” Spare me.

Rating: 7/10

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