SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE UP-TO-DATE
I has been pointed out to me that I often choose the more obscure, older, cult films to review, and since right now, the polls are saying you guys and gals want more reviews of new films, I thought I would choose one of the best film of the past year, 'The Dark Knight'.
There was a time when people thought it was crazy to try and have someone else take on the role of the Joker because no one could possibly fill Jack Nicholson's shoes. But after you see The Dark Knight you won't be able to think of anyone else besides Heath Ledger. Now Nicholson's Joker looks like a naughty clown while Ledger's Joker is downright nasty and disturbed (yet still oddly loveable). Ledger's maniacal performance as the psycho giving both cops and crooks nightmares is so riveting that it makes you sad for all the roles he'll never have a chance to tackle after he died at the beginning of last year just after finishing production on The Dark Knight.
Picking up essentially where Batman Begins left off, we find Gotham is marginally better off but still struggling with corruption and crime. Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) is supposed to arrest the vigilante Batman (Christian Bale) on sight but instead he's been partnering with the Caped Crusader to try and capture a group of mobsters. It's difficult to determine who to trust but the new D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is looking like the hero Gotham needs. Although Bruce Wayne is a little suspicious of Dent's intentions with Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Bruce's former love. But throwing everything into chaos and panic is the arrival of The Joker. He feels no loyalty to the other criminals in the city and seems solely interested in destroying all he can.
The Dark Knight is a very long way from the camp cheesy Batman of the 60s TV show with Adam West. Nolan continues the darkening tone that began with Tim Burton and Michael Keaton. Nolan and Bale take a sombre approach to their material to deliver a sleek, dark Batman for the new millennium. Nolan delivers a B-movie dressed up very elegantly as a respectable Hollywood drama - just one with kick ass action and a leading man in a cape. Confusing what it means to be a hero is at the heart of this film, and Alfred (Michael Caine) is constantly reminding us of the weighty choices Wayne has to make.
My only reservations are with the ending. Of course they want to set it up for the sequel, which has now been announced, and will contain the Riddler as the villain, but it just petered off into nothing. There were just a few too many loose ends for my liking.
VERDICT - IT'S AN ACTION FILM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT...