Review of 'The Dark Knight'

the_dark_knight.jpg A new criminal is in town: The Joker played by the brilliant Heath Ledger (who brings a truly disturbing take on the villain played by Jack Nicholson in the original Batman movie). The Joker is out to steal from the mob and the District Attorney, Harvey Dent, is out to stop all of them (with a little help from Batman and Lt. James Gordon let us not forget…).

The first Christian Bale Batman (Begins) movie was fairly dark but that movie is as nothing compared to this pitch-black portrayal of the Dark Knight. The whole of Gotham is put at risk (though action temporarily goes overseas with a terrific action piece set in the skyscrapers of Hong Kong) with Joker and his disturbed gang putting the city to ransom on several occasions in his efforts to unveil the Batman.

What was refreshing, and a bit of a surprise, was a “false ending” in the middle of the film where you could see that, if things were simple, the movie would end. But this ending quickly disintegrates into something far more interesting emotionally and psychologically. The story quickly turns far darker…Nolan very much puts the ending in doubt on several occasions…A surprise twist turns one of the main characters into something completely different (thanks to the Joker) – No, I will not give it away.

Often the frenetic style of filming could be nausea inducing but works quite well (as it does not last too long – see the Bourne Ultimatum for an example of where this is NOT the case…). The effects are brilliant but not completely over the top with the emphasis on real stunts rather the computer effects. There is a general sence of “reality” – if that is possible in a super-hero movie – that pervades the whole picture. It is in this reality that Nolan is not afraid to explore the motivations of all of the major characters in narrative scenes throughout yet the story moves on apace.

A worthy successor to the super-hero genre and a lot of (often disturbing) fun. There is a reason for the 15 certificate…If you like your action with a psychological twist, here you go…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2008-07-29

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Year: 2008

Length: 152 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by Christopher Nolan: