Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Dark Knight directed by Christopher Nolan (starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal)

The Dark Knight (2008). Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer and characters by Bob Kane.

I never intended to review this movie — or, originally, even see it. It's just one more in the constant string of superhero films constantly fed out by Hollywood. But then The Dark Knight became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and was suddenly declared the best film of all time by Internet Movie Database voters, and I just had to see what all the fuss was about and have my say.

Because it's simply not all that. Other than a riveting — probably a great — performance by the late Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight has little going for it besides the expected high production values and some interesting directorial choices by Christopher Nolan (particularly during the lengthy chase sequence).

Christian Bale has proven his acting abilities in numerous other films, but — and this is the main problem with every film featuring the Caped Crusader — he is given nothing to do here but react to events caused by the villains and the other characters. In a movie called "The Dark Knight," shouldn't the focus be on Batman? Just call this movie "The Joker" and be done with it because, really, even Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) is mostly forgotten by the time the credits roll.

[Does no one else think it's a problem that role of Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins) was taken over by Maggie Gyllenhaal and, not only can you hardly tell but it also seems like an improvement? And what happened to Gary Oldman? He had challenging roles in the early 1990s, but here he mostly looks lost and confused while trying to look focused and determined.]

To me, the huge success and unabashed acclaim of The Dark Knight is merely a symptom of the generally poor entertainment being produced by Hollywood these days. When someone comes out with a movie that is better than average, it is instantly hailed as a modern classic. And that's just sad.

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