Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Dark Knight

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I thought it would be pretty cool to check this shit out in IMAX, and I was right, even if only a small amount of the movie is actually in IMAX.

I'm thinking that Christopher Nolan's talent is in his ability to flesh out and make plausible a completely implausible world. Very little of this film or The Prestige can really apply to our actual lives, but they feel real and authoritative. I'm not sure there's much relevance in a real world sense, but I'm also not sure that art requires that. It's pretty cool how he explores the emotional and ethical depths of a reality that doesn't exist.

Now, The Dark Knight is topical and relevant in certain respects, in how it may pose ideas of terrorism and surveillance and some of those issues. But mostly it's about the psychological and moral duel between Batman and the Joker, two characters who could not exist in our world and do not really serve as an accurate metaphor for anything either. I don't mean that as a criticism. In fact, I think it fucking rules that they've created this moral and psychological depth for two outlandish characters, that they've made a patently false world seem like a fully realized world.

I especially like the idea that the very existence of Batman would create the need for a person like the Joker. And I'm greatly intrigued by the Joker trying to make a philosophical statement with his crimes, although at times he does seem like he must be a big fan of the Saw movies or something, or maybe he's like Anton Chirgurh.

One of my favorite touches in the movie is that, in true noir fashion, characters are constantly compromising or redefining their values. Batman, Gordon, Harvey Dent, Fox, even Alfred all make choices in the moral grey area, and I'm not always convinced they make the right choice. No one seems to stick to their values... no one except, of course, the Joker, who understands exactly what he is and what he stands for. Few movie villains have been this self-aware or this philosophical.


Patrick said...

I don't know if you noticed this or not, but when I saw the film in Imax I found the action scenes much easier to follow. I'm not sure if its because I had seen the movie once before or if the Imax cameras simply shook less, but the scenes that stuck out as "Bourne Supremacy" style egregious the first time, like the first fist fight with scarecrow and the last joker scene in the construction site looked almost normal.

Dan said...

Actually, I thought, in terms of clarity, the action was much improved over the first film, and didn't have too much trouble following it the first time I saw it. If anything, the IMAX just confirmed my suspicion that, outside of the respectable car chase scene, Christopher Nolan isn't that great at action.

Which isn't a big deal, because I thought he (kind of ingeniously) didn't include much action in the film. Instead, he focused on complicated set pieces, i.e. the opening bank heist or the Hong Kong Sequence, or on sequences of suspense/tension, i.e. the final scene with Harvey Dent.

In terms of shoot 'em up action or fight scenes, The Dark Knight is actually shockingly low on action for a bajillion dollar mainstream summer blockbuster. Which I think was the right call on Nolan's part, he better figured out how to play to his strengths.