Amazon Holiday

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dark Knight

(Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: After Gotham City has been rid of most of its crime, a new nemesis comes to town to spice things up and make Batman’s life (Christian Bale) hell again. His name is The Joker (Heath Ledger).

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Nestor Carbonell, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy, Anthony Michael Hall

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketGo! Biggest box-office opening in history… fastest film to $200 million (5 days)… Proof that if you like Batman or just super-hero movies in general, chances are very good that this one will give you a thrill.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Despite a character called, ‘The Joker," the film's not really built for humor. But he is the funniest thing going in this piece, especially when he's blowing up hospitals.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: If you truly believe in a world where a man dressed like a bat might save your life one day, you might shed a tear or two. You might also consider signing yourself up for psychotherapy.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Technical awards notwithstanding, this movie could land a Best Film nomination based on the box office records it's set (see Titanic). And if you haven't heard the deafening buzz about Heath Ledger’s performance, you're probably wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Because of your headphones, I am forced to tell you that Ledger’s reinvention of The Joker is mesmerizing and terrifying in its authenticity, while also striking the perfect tone for a comic book movie. Bale – once again – makes Batman perfectly angst-ridden, and Gyllenhaal is an improvement over Katie Holmes (which not only isn't saying much, it's saying absolutely nothing).

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Visually striking, but Christopher Nolan shoots a lot of the action sequences in close-ups, rendering them sometimes hard to follow. They are still an improvement over Batman Begins.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Full, maybe overly so. The script deals with big themes – specifically the psychology of hero vs. villain; and how both can live inside one person. It never talks down to the audience, it’s not dumb and for those reasons alone it stands above most comic book films. But at 2.5 hours the movie feels as long as it is, which it probably didn’t need to be. At times it has a bit of a split personality; focusing not only on The Joker, but also the Aaron Eckhart character of Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent-- a storyline which could've been steamlined.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: Time for another eulogy... Much has been made of Heath Ledger’s performance in this, and it's one thing that lives up to the hype. He’s actually better than the movie, which is saying a lot since the film is very good. After Brokeback Mountain, this is yet another stellar performance that will leave audiences wondering what other fascinating characters Ledger might have sprung on us had he not passed away shortly after making The Dark Knight.

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Farzan said...

Great review Russ, why did it take you so long to finally see the movie? lol. I gave the film an A- and thought it was one of the years best film. Heath Ledger gives a great performance and I loved him so much in Brokeback Mountain which he should have gotten an Oscar for.

Film-Book dot Com said...

Funny review man. You made me laugh with that part about Katie Holmes, though I would have liked to see her in the film anyway for continuity's sake.

Monique Elisabeth said...

Hi, I'm responding for Russ, because much like Batman, Russ is an elusive being creeping in and out of the shadows, and solving crimes (--in this case, the crime was me not going to see this movie fast enough.)

I didn't go see the movie sooner because I was not invited to an advanced screening, and found myself terrified of facing the opening weekend crowds, and not getting in, since even the IMAX is sold out for the next 3 weeks. Then (as you can see from my posts), I got caught up at a multitude of other advanced (free) screenings, leaving me no time to see TDK-- I know, these are flimsy excuses that hold no weight. And you were just busting our chops, in the first place, which is highly justified considering the circumstances! You're not the first.

Meanwhile, Russ was waiting for me to ask him to cover the film for me. So don't blame Russ, blame me.

That said, Russ and I agree that Ledger was great in Brokeback, but it was a highly competitive year for leading men. We also agree that Katie Holmes would've brought this movie down a notch, even in the name of "continuity." If anything, we concur that they should remake Batman Begins, and replace Katie with Maggie in that one, so as to keep the continuity.

Farzan said...

ok, I got you. I also dont like watching movies with lots of crowd, but for a big movie like this, I had too

Film-Book dot Com said...

I don't have anything for or against Holmes. She's nice to look at and has to get acting practice somewhere so...

How do you get invited to advance (free) screenings? What is the method?

Monique Elisabeth said...

You're right that she has to get practice! lol. And it would've been funnier if she were in the film, for the part where she dies... Ok, that was harsh, even for me.

Do you live in L.A.? You have to be in L.A. to get most of the advanced and free screenings.

Monique Elisabeth said...

btw, Farzan, I actually love watching movies with huge crowds. What I don't like is going to the theater and getting turned away cuz the movie's sold out. That happened to me 3 times when I went to see the first Lord of the Rings. It's harder to get into big movies in L.A. too, because everyone here is obsessed with movies, so it gets crazy.

Film-Book dot Com said...

I live in Connecticut, near NYC. D'oh!

Monique Elisabeth said...

if you live near NYC, you should look into joining the IFP. It costs about $100/year, but if it's anything like it's sister org in LA (FIND), you get 2-3 free screenings a month, plus, you get to vote in the Independent Spirit awards, and you get to see every movie nominated for free in Jan-Feb.

Farzan said...

Your lucky to be getting into this screenings Monique. I would love for that on some of the upcoming 2009 films, but I dont live in LA. At least you can give us early reviews on films which is always a good thing.

Reginald said...

Thanks for the heads up Monique. I will look into it.

Seek said...

Maybe I am alone on the rooftop in my opinion here...but I was darkly disappointed. I really had a hard time enjoying the majority of visuals half of the time as this overall look of the film was just too dark! And Batman's voice was so gravelly it would have helped allot to have subtitles.
Heath Ledger was great as the Joker, and stole the show, but with all it's hype and budget, I got pulled out of the mood too often for the aforementioned reasons. I did enjoy the attention to detail on gizmos and vehicle design. Props on props!

Monique Elisabeth said...

You're not alone, Seek. I totally agree with you. Thank you for having the guts to speak out.

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