25 April 2009

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight: I finally watched this thing on dvd a couple nights ago. . .

It scores 9.0 on IMDb and is rated the #6 film of All-Time! Please.

This is more Fisher-Price Light & Sound Show than movie. It’s something you hang over a crib to distract a baby.

Well, that is what movie audiences have become: babies crying for distraction. Art is now beyond the masses. They do not have the patience or the education. Shine a light in their eyes, say *boom!* and they squeal with delight!

This isn’t a terrible movie. It’s mediocre. If the critics who raved about this and the boobs who scored this #6 on IMDb had been able to recognize its mediocrity, there would be no need for me to bother with this review. I would have watched it, yawned, and then continued waiting for Dexter Season 4. But for this to be regarded as some kind of landmark cinematic achievement—no, I cannot let that pass.

There’s a decent comic book story here:

Batman (poorly played by the usually competent limey Christian Bale. Bale’s Batman voice is ridiculous. . .he sounds like he’s auditioning for a job as a transsexual phone sex operator), Lt. Gordon (played as a nervous pragmatist by the reliable limey Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent are successfully cleaning up Gotham City. . .until the Joker arrives. The Joker’s schemes force Batman, Dent and Gordon to make difficult moral choices, revealing less-than-sterling character in all three. The Joker’s tricks also create tension in a *love triangle* involving Batman, Dent and Assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes.

A decent story. . .simple. . .not particularly thought-provoking. . .but enough to keep your interest. Enough, if it hadn’t been buried beneath the rubble of all the explosions and car crashes and other ridiculous *action.*

This is a two-and-a-half hour movie. . .you would think there would be plenty of time to show adequate character development. . .to detail the complexity in the *love triangle* and to show the pathology of Dent’s psychic breakdown. But the *love triangle* is painted in the broadest strokes possible, and Dent’s breakdown occurs almost instantaneously. But in this two-and-a-half hour movie, there is no time for character development. . .because the filmmakers have to give the dumbed-down audience the ninety minutes of crashes and explosions they have become addicted to. So the story is told in short-hand.

As I said, it’s not terrible. It’s mediocre. It could have been better. . .but this is the cinema Americans are willing to settle for.

Heath Ledger? Yes, he is good as the Joker. . .when he acts. . .which is maybe fifteen minutes out of this two-and-a-half hour *wham bam thank you cgi* mess. . .the rest of the time Ledger is a just a prop riding on the various trucks, buses, planes, trains and automobiles that go crash bang.

Yes, Ledger does a fine job as the Joker. But is it the stuff of the legend that has already been made? Sorry, no. What does Ledger do that any of twenty other actors couldn’t have done just as well? The performance is mainly make-up and a continual series of lip-lickings and tongue protrusions—Ledger’s Joker has Kluver-Bucy Syndrome. Ledger is good, no doubt about it. . .but his performance, like the movie itself, benefits from the hype of over-blown praise.

And who the hell is this plain-Jane actress who plays Rachel Dawes? Batman and Dent can’t live without this washerwoman? She’s such a mule, it’s hard to believe Harvey Dent goes schizo when she is killed.

In movies like this, the female lead is also supposed to be a *special effect*. . .who let this poor homely thing wander onto the set? Was there one big action sequence too many, leaving no money in the budget to hire some A-list eye candy, such as Jennifer Connelly? Instead, we get the mediocre mug who plays Rachel Dawes. A mediocre mug for a mediocre movie.


  1. This is on the sliding scale of using the standards of today. . . I think this flick is above average. By today's standards.

    But top 6? Yeah, that makes this an irresistible impulse to review for you.

    Top six off the top of my head (these are due to change as they are the ones I'm thinking of right now): The Conversation, The Wild Bunch, Magnolia, Platoon, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    There are many many many others that are far superior to The Dark Knight. . . Jackie Brown, Princess Bride, Apocalypse Now, Smoke, Electric Horseman, Tender Mercies, and yes, Grandma's Boy.

    Top six is laughable.

  2. I'm not going to bother defending TDK; I feel no need to start a flame war. The only thing that made me giggle was "And who the hell is this plain-Jane actress who plays Rachel Dawes?" Well, being as you apparently dabble in film review, and Maggie is a well-known actress, one would presume you did (hopefully) know who she was. Otherwise ... eesh. Watch Secretary or something.

  3. I notice my initial 6 count is missing one. Amendment: Number six is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

  4. LOL! itpdude mentioned electric horseman. I was an extra in that film in the third grade. Not my first Hollywood job, though. I was also in Harry's War. Both were shot entirely in the dismal shithole of St. George, Utah; a day's drive north on I-15 from tinseltown.

    I thought TDK was something of a letdown. I guess I was silly enough to expect some sort of Jungian theme in the subtext a la Full Metal Jacket. (Jung, dark night of the soul...) It was a moderately entertaining slash/burn flick, but not much more.

  5. Did Jane Fonda pat you on the head?

  6. jane fonda? robert redford? hell with them... the coolest guy i remember meeting was willie nelson. i don't think he was even in the film, he was just hanging about on the sidelines.

  7. OH, Willie WAS in that film. He was Sonny's hanger-on keep him sober enough guy. As was Wilfred Brimley. . .

    I loved that film as a child. It was one of the few my parents let me rent on VHS, other than the G stuff. I re-visited the flick as an adult and found, unlike SO many others, I still loved the film.

    My reception as a child was far different than as an adult. As a kid I remember crying when Redford released the horse amongst all the other wild horses. I thought Redford and the horse could have a happy life hanging out and doing cowboy stuff. As an adult, I got a lil misty about the whole drifter-can't-keep-no-woman-'round thing.

    At both ages I thought Brimley's character was one righteous dude. It still gives me chills when he says something along the lines of, "I know who you are, mister, and you're doin' the right thing." Still get chills. . .

    And Willies "Midnight Rider" is the best.