Dir. Christopher Nolan; Writ. Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan; Starring Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhall, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart
Yes, I got to it first. It may be a little unfair, but I feel a bit entitled. I’m the one who put it on the marquee; I’m the one who tries to con people into 45oz of more popcorn for 50 cents; and I’ll be the one paying for taxi cabs after missed, last buses. It’s all worth it for an early screening of Batman.
Coming out of the Dark Knight, I have to say I was a little sad. I wasn’t disappointed, and I wasn’t mourning Ledger’s death (not at that particular moment anyway). I was a little sad because I doubt I will ever see a better comic book movie.
Let me say, every good remark or hope you’ve heard or had is true.
Ledger’s Joker is infallible. Never is there a moment where you see the actor behind the villain. There was only the slightest of seconds when I was able to pull down my awe and terror of the Joker to contemplate Ledger, and without the bathroom break I took I doubt it would have happened at all(I wouldn’t recommend drinking much soda during this film. At two and a half hours, your bladder is liable to explode and it’s impossible to find a scene you’re worth risking). In that moment, my only thought was, “Hit me with brick! If that’s Heath Ledger, who in this galaxy was in First Knight?” Don’t get me wrong. Everyone knew he was great after Brokeback, but that gay cowboy is peanuts next to the Joker.
The Dark Knight is a Batman movie. Heath Ledger makes it a Joker movie. Bruce Wayne is Batman and we all get to watch him evolve in a deteriorating world. He confides in Alfred; loves Rachel, and trusts in Harvey Dent. Yet, the Joker’s transformation is so much more sensual and pronounced. The script does provide insight into the Joker’s maniacal philosophy, but, through madly visual and vicious acts of violence alone, Ledger’s subtle and impeccable acting creates a vivid evolution that passionately shanghais the film.
Gosh, from his beginnings in Gotham as criminally-insane mastermind with a couple of great magic tricks, to his climb to being an impassioned psychopath on a big playground with a casual stroll to a school bus, Ledger as the Joker is a powerhouse. He so dwarfs everyone else, you wouldn’t give a horse’s patoot about Bale, Freemen, Caine, or Gyllenhall if they were sitting right next to you at the theater.
The special effects, the acting, the story they’re all great, but a review of the Dark Knight had to be a review of the Joker.
If you’re on this site and have read this review, it probably means to at least some extent you appreciate movies (or if not, art). So, I feel safe saying, you’re an idiot if you don’t see this movie, and you’re probably a loser if you don’t see it soon.