Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008)

Genre: Action & Adventure
Okay, so I’ve been waiting to see this movie for a while now ever since I’ve been subjected to the enormous amounts of hype and marketing for the Dark Knight, the tragical death of Heath Ledger, and his posthumous Oscar nomination rumours. And since a movie rarely can lived up to its hype and expectation and especially with The Dark Knight being a sequel, I have to say that I didn’t have much expectation from this movie, other than to see Ledger’s final performance. And sadly it was right to not have much expectation of this movie. It is a good action movie, but it just not that great.

One thing for sure, The Dark Knight truly lived up to its title. The movie is indeed 'dark', and does have many dark overtones. The cinematography is made so dark and sinister that really did suit the mood for the film. Gotham City must have topped the list of unsafest places in America to live. Not only does it seem to have a high nightly violence rate but also all the crazies seem to settling down there too and thus make Dark Knight to be one of the most complex, violent and disturbing comic-book films I've ever seen. It has some of the most graphic violence for a film of its rating and I believe that putting Batman's face on the poster is probably the only thing that saved it from an MA rating. You definitely shouldn’t bring kids to see this movie.

The highlight of this movie is definitely Ledger’s performance as the sadistic Joker which was absolutely disturbing and scary yet simply amazing. I would not want to meet the Joker in a dark alley, and whatever happen, never.. I repeat, never ask him how he got his smile, especially, when he has a knife in his hand. When Ledger appeared in this movie, I completely didn’t recognize him. His voice is distinctly altered, kinda pedophile-like tone that sends shivers down the spine. His face looks both nightmarish and bizarrely funny because of the make-up. And he seems to get lost in his role. You don't see Heath Ledger playing the Joker while watching this movie. You see the Joker. He plays the role with such a level of madness that you are terrified by his very presence. He gets inside your head with his sick jokes and makes you chuckle at things that will left you wondering why you are laughing in the first place. Apart from Ledger, I have to say that the other actors also play their role well. Christian Bale managed to portray Batman’s inner struggle really well, although unfortunately the cheesy raspy-voice returns with a vengeance. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives Rachel Dawes a more matured personality than Katie Holmes’s performance in the first movie. Aaron Eckart makes the transformation between Harvey Dent and Two Face very smooth and believable. Michael Caine is an excellent Alfred. Morgan Freeman, as usual, gives a charming performance and delivers the best quote in the movie: "So, you're saying that you think your billionaire boss is a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare fists. And you want to blackmail this man?".

As for the downfalls, Christian Bale's Batman voice got irritating a couple of times especially when he’s having a full conversation. The ending sequence with the bat and the joker was a let down for me. And the movie is way too long. While it never drags, I think they could have trimmed the fat. The film takes on several different subjects, tragically all at once, creating a distorted and unspectacular experience that gives part of what you want but will leave you unmoved. When The Dark Knight feels like it might be ending, the anxiety then mounts again with a new problem that is triggered with lame plot devices. It kinda gave me the same experience as watching ’sinetron’. With 45 minutes left, I was already burned out and trying to sleep in my comfy chair.

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