Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Notes on The Dark Knight

My second watch, this time on my laptop screen instead of IMAX. It was just as amazing. Christopher Bale is pretty dull in this, but Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart (who I just saw in Black Daliha) and Gary Oldman more than make up for Bale’s Keanu-Reeves-ness. It is smart reflection on human nature. And the variety of ethical parables that make up this film make my heart beat faster than five hours of top notch special effects.

It is also refreshing to have a truly evil villain—not strictly mad, but completely and brilliantly sociopathic— in order to experience true fear of him. Perhaps it is a little bit of a mess. If so, it is a perfect messterpiece. I don’t see how Nolan can top this.

Technical-- 4/5-- The storytelling is convoluted a couple times. Generally excellent, however.
Interest-- 5/5-- Never a dull moment. Sometimes I needed to pause just to catch my breath.
Tension--5/5-- One of the most intense movies I've ever seen. The scene with the two ferries.

Emotional--3/5-- I really struggled personally with some of the situations the Joker set up.
Characters--3/5-- Ledger's Joker is perfect. Bale's Batman was a bit dull. Overall, alright.
Theme-- 4/5-- Holding to one's principles in the face of pure evil. Well done, even if the theme does get muddied in the plot.
Ethics--5/5-- Not because the ethics are perfect, but because of the ethical struggle the whole movie posed. I prefer an ethical exercise rather than a sermon. And this exercise is top notch.

It offers many questions that have come up in the war on terror, but in an uber-urban crime setting. If you have a set of principles, should they ever be set aside for the sake of security? Should privacy of private citizens be set aside for the sake of security? Is it ever right to torture someone for information? And there is the magnificent playing out of the prisoner's dilemma. Read about the prisoner's dilemma here.

A lot of classroom time could be taken here. Few of these questions are answered, but the fact that they are even considered makes this a magnificent film.

Personal--3/5-- In general, I can resonate with the struggle to maintain principle when it doesn't seem correct. But the stakes in the movie are too high to really identify with.

Overall, The Dark Knight is an intellectual film with an enormous amount of tension and melodrama-- as are most of the films that Christopher Nolan directs. That is a balance I particularly love. 4.5/5

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Keanu Reeves is better than that! I've seen it several times now and each time I find more and more I don't like about that.

    The boat scene, in particular, rings so false that it almost singlehandedly ruins the film for me.