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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dark Knight

I really enjoyed Chris Nolan's 'Batman Begins' so it was with some excitement that The Demon and I headed off to the IMAX cinema at the Glasgow Science Centre last night to catch his sequel 'The Dark Knight', which, just so we're clear, will definitely be getting a 10/10 at the end of this post.
Trust me, you can believe the hype.

The Appetisers

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as 'Alfred' the butler and 'Lucius Fox', but in reality they just walk around being Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. This is no bad thing as I'm sure Michael Caine would struggle with anything other than a chirpy cockney accent, and if Morgan Freeman told me the Earth was flat, I'd believe him.

The Side Salad

Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of 'Rachael Dawes' from Katie Cruise, nee Holmes, who I presume is off being one half of 'KC and the Sunshine Man'. She (Gyllenhaal) plays the part convincingly enough, but the problem I had with her is that, in all honesty, she's a bit of a minger. Every time she's on screen with Christian Bale I kept thinking "There's no way he's shagging you, luv. Not unless you get him drunk".
Aaron Eckhart's 'Harvey Dent', on the other hand, is integral to the plot of the film, and it's a damn fine job he does too. This is surely going to land him many more roles.

The Main Course

Anyway, enough of all this preamble, it's time to ask:

The Heath Ledger Question?

Is his portrayal of The Joker worthy of an Oscar?

No. Niet. Nein. Non.

Of course it isn't. It was never going to be. He comes across as a menacing, deranged, crazy psychopath alright, but after all the hype he's a bit of a one trick pony, a bit one dimensional.
Having said that, he is impressive, but to be honest all four main actors do a tremendous job here. It's a real team effort. Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, and of course Christian Bale.

He's now the definitive Batman, and has surely done enough to make the character his own. He's also now definitely Hollywood A-list, and deservedly so. Some of his previous films have been excellent, some not so, but his performance in them has never been in question.
You only have to look at 'American Psycho' (2000), the excellent 'The Machinist' (2004), and 'Harsh Times' (2005) to see three films that are entirely carried on his shoulders alone.
Trust me, hunt these films out.

As for 'The Dark Knight' itself, well without giving the story away, it is absolutely outstanding, and ticks all my boxes. It has all the adrenaline junkie action you could want, but don't think you can simply take your brain out of gear and let it carry you along on a raft of CGI nonsense, oh no, there's far more to it than that. There's some serious gravitas here. This is a rare summer blockbuster that's as heavy on quality of writing as it is quantity of action. It's an extremely well thought out thriller, and delivers on so many levels. I'm struggling to think of the last time I enjoyed a film as much as this one.

Comparing 'Batman Begins' to 'The Dark Knight' is like comparing 'The Hobbit' to 'The Lord Of The Rings'. Chris Nolan surpasses his original by two or three light years, and it's he who should be getting the Oscar nomination. He's proved that with the right team and effort, you can actually take an action film seriously.

One more for the trilogy box set please!


PS - I want a Batmobile so much it hurts.


Edward Ott said...

seems ro be the movie everyone must see this summer.

Steve said...

Kapow! Sock! Blam! Eh? I like my superhero films to have a serious bite to them - I might give this a go. Fancy babysitting?

Inchy said...

Steve - Go see it. leave the kids home alone with a loaf of bread if you have to, but go see it.

Inchy said...

Edward - trust me, this one lives up to the hype.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fabulous review there Inchy.

I went and saw Batman Begins at the movies on my own, then bought the dvd when it came out. It's fantastic and I've been a fan of Christian Bale for a long time.

I'm really glad this new release stands up on the hype, I've now got three amazing reviews on it, so I'll pay my money and go see it.

Löst Jimmy said...

I am literally foaming at the mouth waiting for this movie to hit my local fleapit.

As for Bale's other work you got it spot on with American Pyscho, The Machinist etc
The guy has got talent. American Pyscho not only was a very good book but transferred well onto the big screen.

Cynnie said...

i LOVE christian Bale!!!.
and the rumour that he booted his mom out of his apartment (? i dont know details) well, that makes him even cooler ..

Groanin' Jock said...

Damn good film, went to see it last night. Don't like the Batmobile though, I prefer Michael Keaton's version.

Inchy said...

Each to their own, Jock, but I'd take The Tumbler every time!

I've been back to see it twice now, and it's been a long time since I've done that.