Posted by: Dr P | March 11, 2009

The Dark Knight

The intrigue surrounding this second re-imagining of the Batman franchise is entirely about the untimely death of Heath Ledger, the talented young actor whose career was very much on an upward curve. I think it’s a safe bet to make that he would never have topped his performance in this movie as the demented Joker. The Joker was of course wonderfully played by Jack Nicholson in the previous Batman series, but good as that was, Ledger completely blows Nicholson’s character out of the water.

This is a portrayal of dementia and a disturbed mind at its finest – whether Ledger was drawing on his own inner turmoil will never be answered, but whatever powered this performance was a seriously twisted imagination. Ledger’s Joker is a sadist, a comedian, a man devoid of remorse or much respect for the value of human life, and he is utterly compelling to watch. Christian Bale once again shines as Batman, and he provides a strong counterpoint to the Joker.

The plot of the film is relatively simple – Joker is out to prove that anyone, and we do mean anyone, can be bought off, and to cause as much mayhem as possible. Gotham has a rising new light of justice, the new DA played excellently by Aaron Eckhart. Eckhart’s character, Harvey Dent, is making great strides in putting away Gotham’s criminal underworld, and adding his very public brand of justice to that meted out by Batman. Not only that, but he is now dating his assistant DA and Bruce Wayne’s ex, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhall).

Suffice to say the stunts are incredible, the budget seemingly off the charts, the destruction and mayhem are astonishing, and the quality of acting far outweighs that normally seen in a summer blockbuster. The likes of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman offer suitable gravitas in their supporting roles in Bruce Wayne’s organisation.

We thoroughly enjoyed this movie, which is superbly paced, well plotted, well acted and utterly compelling from the opening act right to the tragic finale. An absolute must-see.

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