The Dark Knight—the Review

75 Comments

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

–The Dark Knight

True evil has no cause. It has no justification. It cannot be reasoned with. It just is. It derives its strength from “watching the world burn”. And even more importantly from its ability to spread its dark tentacles into the hearts of the good.

The only way for the superhero to conquer evil is to embrace it himself, to do that “one thing he cannot do”. And herein lies the supreme irony. Cause it is this very act of embracing the blackness that becomes the ultimate testimony to the inevitability of “true evil” —the final monument to its victory.

Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” is a violently disturbing, nightmarish journey into the proverbial heart of darkness exploring evil, good, and the tenuous line that separates them.

It is also one of the best movies to come out of mainstream Hollywood in recent years blending action, entertainment, legend, politics and thought in perfect proportion to form a heady cinematic cocktail.

Summertime is when school is put and the big Hollywood studios unleash a line of big-budget, mostly brainless FX-heavy “franchise movies”—typically based on superheroes either from the domain of comics (Superman, Spiderman, Xmen, Batman), television series (Transformers) or on past commercial successes (John Mclaine from Die Hard, Indiana Jones, the Terminator, the Mummy). Being the meal ticket of the studios, no expenses are spared and the biggest-name directors —Sam Raimi, Brett Ratner, Bryan Singer and of course Christopher Nolan–roped in to helm these endeavors. Yet most of these movies are unable to rise above their popcorn-soda-dollar raison d’êtres almost always degenerating into two hours of men-in-tights/cyborgs/fossilized archaeologists fighting fantastic creatures while disobeying assorted laws of physics.

Christopher Nolan’s the Dark Knight however is different. Evaluated just as a superhero movie, it surpasses all its contemporaries —simply put, it very well might be the best movie of its genre.

Ever.

Steering clear off the romantic cheesiness of the Spiderman franchise and the chick flick undertones of Bryan Singer’s re-invention of Superman, the “Dark Knight” has intricately constructed set-pieces, awe-inspiring visuals (Batman’s cape is used to excellent effect and a particular shot of Batman standing atop a skyscraper framed by the night sky eerie in its beauty), pulse-racing music and plenty of thrills and spills to keep you digging in the buttery pop-corn barrel for more.

However its greatness lies in the fact that it manages to blast above the aesthetic limitations of the comic-book-hero genre, based on the raw power provided by its three powerhouses.

The first of these is a great, twisted, intensely cerebral story (the ending is superb) that not only contemplates the nature of evil and virtue but also touches, in a powerful yet understated fashion, upon themes of terrorism, torture and surveillance, the cornerstones of post 9/11 life in the United States .

The second is Nolan’s masterful direction wherein he sets the pace of the narrative optimally, gives room for every character and the motivations for their actions to develop and never allows the demands of the genre (action) to overpower the story or the exposition of the deeper themes explored.

The third is of course Heath Ledger as the Joker. Making Hannibal Lecter look as gentle as a spring lamb, the Joker is possibly the most fearsome apparition of evil to appear on screen since Alex of “Clockwork Orange”. With the daubed white face paint, the red festering scars at the ends of his lips forming a fixed smile and his intense eyes framed by black circles, the Joker doesn’t even need to “act” in order to make the audience believe they are looking at evil personified. But once he lets loose, one can do nothing much but sit tightly in their seats riveted to the screen. Ledger is flawless—bringing menace, darkness, dementia, confidence, magnetism, loathing, showmanship and undiluted avarice to his character. Even a bit of overplaying would have led to the Joker becoming a buffoon and a caricature (as Jack Nicholson’s Joker was). Ledger however is supremely in control. I would like to see the performance that beats this for an Oscar, should there be one in the course of this year that comes remotely close. [Needless to say, Ledger will be handicapped by the fact that the Oscar committee typically loathes commercial successes]. The rest of the cast is perfect too but noone can be blamed for being overshadowed by Ledger who dominates each and every frame he is in.

Overall, a path-breaking, genre-bending celluloid extravaganza, a two-and-a-half hour celebration of the power of cinema.

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75 thoughts on “The Dark Knight—the Review

  1. I doubt there’s another review on this blog to rival the superlatives and the tone of awe in this. I shall see the film tomorrow, and shall doubtless come back to agree with you.

    On a lighter note, I notice you’ve excluded the “lit” franchises from your list. What of our box-office shaking, technically flawless, headline-grabbing and utterly pointless Harry Potter films? Or the Narnia flicks? Or, indeed, the Pullman trilogy, the Lemony Snicket series and other smaller adaptations?

    I suppose your omission shows your regard for them. Good for you 🙂

  2. No wonder that the IMDB ratings for ‘The Dark Knight’ (9.6/10 after 69,315 votes) have surpassed those of all movies ever made!
    However, it is a pity that this will be the last time we’ll see the masterful performance of Heath Ledger…

  3. But it seems you missed the little inspirations even Ledger had to take from Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker. He was in his way GREAT in that role. That looking away from the interrogator in the lock-up, smelling Rachel Dawes’s hair reminded me of Nicholson.

  4. Can’t agree more!

    Riveted to the screen for 3 hrs (yep, the first half hr included trailers from other movies…like..like…Watchmen 🙂 ) Joker was outstandingg to say the least.

    Should say though that Katie Holmes would have been better than Maggi in Rachel Dawes character. This lady couldn’t act and couldn’t act pretty..lost on both fronts!

    ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we are tonite’s entertainment’…ahh..evil personified! 🙂

  5. Saw this movie yesterday and i agree with every word you said.
    i think the roles of Batman and the Public Prosecutor were also great but they were overshadowed by Ledger.

    I loved his performance.. I loved the scenes where he keeps asking abt how did got his Scars.. really an Evil.

    Loved the movie and for the first time i was also in agree with Raja Sen.

    though just one lackluster. I found the first half a bit dragged but no worries the second half made it. and when the movie was over i was still asking for more. 🙂

    really.. if you havent watched it.. go for it… !!

  6. However its greatness lies in the fact that it manages to blast above the aesthetic limitations of the comic-book-hero genre, based on the raw power provided by its three powerhouses.

    I think it is unfair to brand the Batman series as aesthetically limited because the Batman ‘brand’ that the likes of Alan Moore and Frank Miller authored, are works of art. I think Batman, although a comic book hero, always appealed to me as beyond that in the realm of the graphic novel (I know they are essentially the same, but for perceptions).

    Other than that, your review is spot on. The graphic-novels-to-film genre is really coming of age with the right people at the helm and with studios allowing directors free reign to delve deep into the essence of those novels.

    I can’t wait for Watchmen.

  7. “…..be the best movie of its genre”

    Spot on, but over and above that, this is one of the best crime epics ever made. I mean, take away the makeup and batsuit and this is 100% real – a supercop of sorts trying to stop a terrorist. You have to compare it to the Departed or Se7en or something like that.

  8. I agree with Arnab’s review. Its a must-see movie !

    In hindsight, I feel Jack Nicholson’s character wasn’t as effective – his dentures looked fake whenever he smiled.

    Just like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, Heath Ledger had everything going for him at such a young age – talent, looks, fame, wealth, fun …. yet he chose to go overboard and overdosed himself.

    Your lives are epiphany ! Thank you for helping us understand our priorities better !

  9. Watched it yesterday, and will watch it again this Saturday in IMAX. Movies like this one rejuvenate my faith in intelligence of masses.
    And a stellar review from you..priceless.

    Not sure what everyone was going for but I could watch it again for joker changing his scar story everytime…outright amusing. Ledger doing his thirst gig/chuckle whatever you want to call it while talking. One could go on and on about his performance. Did anyone think Harvey’s two face was spookiest thing ever, the teeth showing like that ?

  10. What a riveting movie it was. Just had to be glued to the seat for me who would not be able to sit at once place for more than 15 minutes. Heath Ledger will be missed.

  11. A great movie this summer and equally great review from your side…

    Saw this movie on weekend and would like to go for one more time.
    I would really like to see more of Batcave and Wayne Manor though…

  12. I saw the movie on Friday and I have to admit that it is an extremely well done movie. However I am a bit surprised that it climbed all the way to No. 1 on IMDB top 250. Great film. OK. But best of all time! Hello. Perhaps it has sunk in too much. A better judgement of this movie can probably be made sometime later after a repeat viewing. The fact that a movie like this would rake it 200 million on Week 1 was kind of expected, as Spiderman 3 did the same, but what was not expected was the movie to match its hype and publicity. I liked Tim Burton’s Batman too, but still all the characters in that movie seemed comic book (especially Jack Nicholson’s character as you correctly pointed out). Nolan’s greatest accomplishment probably was to make comic book characters seem like real life ones.

    I would like to talk about some not so ga-ga things about the movie. Praises of the movie now abound every nook and corner of the internet. The duration of the movie is probably a tad more than it should have been. Granted that there was ample developments, but I still feel that some sequences did not serve any purpose. Nolan had a tough job on his hand. He had to satisfy the average popcorn munching American movie goer. He had to satisfy the hardcore DC comic fan. And he also had to introduce themes and flourishes of his own, which make him, well, Nolan. At the end of the movie, when 2 face ‘shoots’ Batman, it was almost intuitively satisfying for those who have seen “The Prestige”. However, unlike “The Following” and “Memento”, Nolan keeps the movie plot gun barrel linear. And this allowed him to set the pace. When he felt that there was a need for action, he simply put the foot on the gas. When he felt that there was a need to introduce a twist or make an exposition, he took his time. But this meant that character development was solely through actions, innuendos and spoken reminiscences. The script had its own shortcomings. It was not a tight and economic script. And even though there is an abundance of discourse, there are a few memorable one liners, always an asset in these movies. I almost laughed when Dent said, “Made in China! Next time use a gun made in US.” I feel lines like these were deliberately inserted to press some psychological buttons. What the average viewer would probably not get is that what Joker tells to Dent in the hospital about the society around him being worse then he is, is actually a metaphor for real life. Digs were mostly cocooned in double entendres. The Joker’s sequences were brilliant and the freewheeling nature of the way he went about to create chaos was accentuated by Ledger’s performance. But what if we had a bad Joker? I feel that if we had someone who played Joker with even half of the manic ferocity of Ledger, the film would have lost a lot of its sheen. Some sequences appear very dramatic due to the brilliant cinematography, but involve ample leaps of faith. The opening sequence can be thankful to ‘Heat’ and there is a shade of “The Day of the Jackal” in the assassination sequence. As nicely shot as the rescue of the girl was, it is precisely in scenes like this that I felt that Nolan was playing to the average movie goer. It is a bit like VVS Laxman playing an ugly swipe over mid wicket when in full flow. He is a very intelligent man and I believe that if was unencumbered by commercial pressures, he could have made an even more classier film. An argument against that could well be that a superhero movie needs its share of incredulity and its share of plain vanilla progression, where action compensates for the lack of coherence and intellect.

    The theme of duality runs throughout the movie. Batman and Joker. Harvey Dent and the corrupt police. Ledger is simply magnificent as Joker. There is no bright or even slightly humorous side to his character. But what he has an abundance of is dark humor, as is evinced by the scene where he asks for his phone call. Sometimes its can be just too dark as is evinced by what he does just after he does after he gets the phone to make that call. Kudos to Nolan too for creating a situation where someone had to die- Dent or his girlfriend. A lesser director would have somehow saved both. Dent’s character actually gets a facelift, both literally and figuratively, after that. Joker is portrayed as someone who is a pathological criminal, a source of chaos. Yet, there is considerable method, if not prescience, to his madness. He is a product of the environment. If this movie is a rough metaphor of 9/11, then he is Osama with a past. The scene where he sticks his face out of the taxicab, the blast scene and the tracking shot you mentioned from the skyscraper are the best ones of the movie. I also liked the batcycle sequences. All of the chase sequneces were quite admirable. The idea of Nolan to borrow the theme of collusion from economics to create that suspenseful scene involving the two vessels is amazing. This is where the film reached a new level. It is dark and grows darker. But it ends with a very small but cherished ray of hope. Joker was untouchable, bereft of even a shred of humanity. But this is precisely what leads to his downfall in the end. He wagered on collusion to the detriment of one of them, but he discounted the basic inherent goodness of human psychology which in fact resulted in successful collusion. I liked the ambivalence with which Nolan hung the fates of Batman and Joker in the end rather than spelling it out explicitly or making it too sugar coated. After all, the Batman sequence does not end here even though this remarkable film does. Perhaps a real great movie, simply because it broke new grounds in the comic book movie genre. 10/10 to Ledger. In fact his name and his sister’s name, Kate were after the characters of Heathcliff and Kate in Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The similarity between the brooding darkness of Heathcliff and the Joker is, in fact, quite astonishing. 9 out of 10 to the movie. Given the plethora of movies which get culled to the trash every week, it certainly deserves no less. Thoroughly enjoyed viewing it.

  13. perhaps this was a movie which gives the reviewer a chance to go back to his vocabulary and find words that can suit this. This is infact cinema at its best.

    I simply loved the part where Joker corrupts Hurvey Dent. His evil being rooted in the hearts of a hero is truly tragic and fearsome. He implants fear into the audience. Powerful dialogues, supreme acting, and lovely screenplay and probably being best in every aspect of a cinema, this is by far the most intriguing movie I have ever watched.

    This movie redefines cinema!

  14. WOW. ALL AROUND THERE SEEMS TO BE HEAPS OF PRAISE FOR THE DARK KNIGHT. A FRIEND WHO IS A COMIC BOOK FREAK HAS STOPPED TALKING TO ME CAUSE I HAVE COMMITTED THE SIN OF NOT SEEING THE “LEGEND” AS YET….
    COMMITMENT FOR THE WEEK – WATCH DARK KNIGHT

  15. BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT FILM

    always loved christopher nolan …

    arnabda – it wld be great if u cld write (even a one liner or two in comments will be do) abt his films batman begins, memento, prestige, his short film Following (made completly independetly with 3000 pounds), insomnia

    insomnia and following are available online …

    heath ledger rocks !!!

  16. and and and …great to see reviewing a great film ..ie a non hilarious raving review of a film …i know u have done a few before ….but was a pleasant surprise ..thought u wld probably massacare kismat konnection/contract (which u will i know 🙂 ) …..

    enufff said ..going for my second viewing tonight

  17. “Oscar committee typically loathes commercial successes”

    I bet to disagree. Look how they have showered Oscars on Titanic, LOTR-ROTK, which are not half as good (and I am a H-U-G-E LOTR fan) as this one.

    This is the best movie I have ever seen. Period.

    And death or no death (I mean not being biased by empathy), I have never seen a more intense performance than Heath Ledger’s come out of Hollywood. “Making Hannibal Lecter look as gentle as a spring lamb” may be a bit of overstatement, but sure this is a much better performance than Hopkins’ and surely pales the efforts of Nicholson.

    PS: RIP Heath Ledger.

  18. Hey! I kept checking on your site about the review but it wasn’t there. I thought it inexplicable that a movie so tremendously awesome would miss your unbiased (and often caustic) scrutiny! So, the review finally appears on your blog …. It looks like you too liked the movie like a vast majority of movie goers! That is the spell-binding power of this movie! It is indeed a path breaking grim crime saga more than just a super-hero movie.

    Btw, for anyone who is interested, I have presented my own review (a rather lengthy one) on my blog, which presents certain moral/philosophical conundrums that the character face throughout the movie – please do read and comment!

  19. Some props are due to Brian Singer for the excellent X Men 1 & 2. Both would walk in to a top 10 comic book movie. He left X3 for Superman, & that hack Brett Ratner took over, which didn’t end well for either one. Frank Miller’s Batman books are also very cinematic in layout & story development. It rejuvenated the franchise & reinvented the superhero genre. Those 3 books are unlike any superhero comic I have read. So I am not sure if would agree with your assessment that “it manages to blast above the aesthetic limitations of the comic-book-hero genre”. I am looking forward to Miller’s Spirit. I loved that comic book series.

    Also, regarding Nicholson’s Joker being a buffoon & a caricature, in Miller’s story arc (here be spoilers) Joker has been in Arkham so his brain is very addled. The original Bob Kane version of Joker was a caricature. Heck, he is a villain that looks like a joker, the opposite of the sombre & black caped Batman. As you can see, I am a big fan of Tim Burton & Jack Da ever since I saw Batman at New Empire all those years ago 🙂

  20. What!! Words of praise from you!! You sure your account is not hacked? Or did you user so much sarcasm that my meager brains couldn’t comprehend?

  21. It was the curiosity from the “Whats all the fuss about! Its just a superhero movie!”…and after the cinematic 2.5 hours of brilliance I figured how utterly wrong I was. This is THE movie. And people like me who expect something just a tad higher than batman begins would have the same reaction too.
    Ledger, well what can I say. He’s the man, or may I say the joker. He’s like a sand slipping out of your fist, the only difference being that this sand leaves deadly scars.
    Bale is the most impressive batman even making Adam West,Keaton,Kilmer and Clooney look like runaway baboons from a circus on a cold and damp winter morning. Maggi doesn’t get much screentime, but still it didnt seem to less either.
    The VFX was amazing, with the gliding and the bat cycle thingy…makes you “Freakin awsum!” enough to have one batman action figure in your room.
    Nolan has done his job well.
    As for Ledger, he was an artist with a canvas. RIP.

    4/5 on this movie!

  22. This may sound like heresy but I found Ledger’s Joker way more profound than Moore’s Joker from “The Killing Joke”…. and scarier than the vicious one from Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” 🙂

  23. “Dark Night assaults Mamma Mia”

    No I am not talking about the two movies released this weekend, – just got the news that Christian Bale has been arrested for assulting his mother!!!

  24. I have not seen the movie, neither do I plan to see it.

    I do not question your review, but I believe there is certain artificial hype created about this movie – especially about this whole Heath Ledger – Joker character. Since last few months, the whole media – including Jay Leno has been praising Heath’s performance and that whole “Oscar buzz”. In past, there has been similar buzz created about Jamie Foxx’s acting in “Ray” and that lady from “Dream Girls” and they finally got the Oscar. I think same will happen this time – Heath Ledger will receive a posthomous Oscar just because of the hype created by studio.

    I have burn my fingers twice this summer – first by “Ironman” – where all laws of physics and engineering are thrown out of window – next in “Wanted” – a poor copy of “Matrix”, “Terminator” and “Minority Report”. Now I refuse to bow down against the media pressure.

    Surprisingly, “Dark Knight” has managed to dethrone “God Father” from #1 spot on IMDB.

  25. @ meghal

    ” I have burn my fingers twice this summer “…what did you expect when you went to see IRONMAN (a good summer flick) and WANTED (a strictly average summer flick) ? They weren’t going to be Goddard or Kurosawa, they were what they were – action-packed summer blockbusters, atleast with IRONMAN you got a great lead actor and a premise which went beyond your average super-hero movie (believable physics and engineering aren’t a stronghold of superhero movies) , but when it comes to the dark knight it is an even better motion picture not only satisfying all parameters of its genre but going beyond into a more fullfilling cinematic realm. I suggest that you do go and watch it and in the words of a legendary ‘professional’ wrestler whose name escapes me at the moment “BELIEVE THE HYPE!”.

  26. @Karan – The wrestler is Goldberg.
    Wrt Dark Knight, it is incredible to see a rating of 9.6 in imdb with total voter strength being over 69000!! This means majority of the voters voted a 10 to this film. I know that IMDB rating is a little biased towards new movies which is why they call their list “Top 100” and not “Best 100” which is cool. However this many people voting it a 10 means it has to be atleast very good.

  27. Saw it today (taking a break from office in afternoon) and it surely compensated for the look from my manager when i returned. It is the best comic-to-film adaptation. No doubt about it. Nolan has taken this film and the batman francise to a different level.

    I think, this movie will change the way superhero films made in Hollywood, just like “Godfather” changed mob films and “Saving Private Ryan” changed war films. And that’s some achievement.

    Having said that it still doesn’t come in the alltime great/classic list. There are themes touched in this film, which given more time and effort could have taken the film to the hallowed list, but those themes were touched and hinted upon. Not dug into. No offence to Nolan. It is a summer blockbuster afterall and he has to please everyone including batman fans and earn millions worldwide. He did it and he did in his own style. And it surely demands a second watch to keep aside the suspense and brilliant stunts and delve deep into the dialogues and story. There are metaphors and allusions to post 9/11 world spread in the film and the more you think about it, more you can connect the dots.

    And then there is Heath Ledger… Mesmerising to say the least. Nolan has just let him lose in the screen and Ledger lapped up the footage given to him. With glee. Just look at the scene where Joker enjoys the wind in his face out of a car window. You can tell how much he is enjoying the anarchy and chaos created by his devilish mind. What a character.

    Definitely a 4 rating out of 5. Nothing less.

  28. @ Meghal,

    Artificial hype you say. I know Hollywood studios leave no stones unturned when it comes to publicity. The Dark Knight has been one of the most awaited movies firstly because of darker and better prequel it had-Batman Begins which was a mile long leap than the Clooney wala Batman featuring Batsuit nipples and Chris O Donell’s rubber butts.

    Secondly, the viral marketing that it had started had made the fanboys and the non-fanboys go nuts.

    Third, the death of Heath Ledger.

    But chuck it all, enter the cinema with a bucket of popcorn.Just go watch the movie, and you WILL know what we all have been saying so far. It is a mindblowing movie first, then a Batman movie.

    Here’s my review btw.
    http://oneknightstands.net/movie-review-the-dark-knight/

    Self publicity *wink*

    And my other two posts on Batman
    http://oneknightstands.net/batman-the-first-two/

    http://oneknightstands.net/batman-the-worst-two/

  29. I agree Rahul.

    Btw, i thought the following headline from TOI was brilliant –
    “Somnath Chatterjee: Once Marxist voice, now Speaker without a party”

  30. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is worth dying for… i cant imagine somebody so young having such depth… and he is dead…

  31. Brilliant movie, fitting review

    @Yourfan2
    Free advise feom a GB fan (take it or leave it)

    Before you start your blog, compare your writing style with GB’s. Great ideas and language both places, but compare lengthy paragraphs with neatly classified thoughts. But honestly, you MUST start ASAP

    cheers
    Venky

  32. This cinema’s story sounds very similar to one of the hit movies of Chiranjeevi. I will have to watch the movie and confirm this.

  33. Correct Kishor, and I’ll let you know one secret aspect of this film, bet you didn’t know this before… The entire film was shot at the Ramoji Film City…

  34. This is the only movie I have seen in a cinema hall twice!

    But let me just add here that Ledger’s performance is to a great extent attributed to the script. And what a script!

    I don’t think he will be nominated for actor in leading role, right?
    It’s funny, because even last year the award for actor in supporting role went to a villian – no country from old men…

  35. [An aside: Not a discussion about “The Dark Night”]

    A lot of people over time on this blog (Dhurandhar, Bal Sangh etc) have asked me to start a blog. I do not think it is possible right now for some reasons. I was debating as to weather to talk about this on the commentspace of this blog as it would be a bit of “attention whoring”, but eventually decided to so, lest silence be misunderstood as arrogance.

    I like good conversation and discourse. I mean I feel very happy and honored that people want me to write a blog. Lets face it, if you are reading this blog, you love good and intelligent writing. So if you want me to start a blog, you must feel that what I write is worth reading. Wheather I am a good writer is debatable. I certainly make no claims. But I think I am a good conversationalist. I can strike up a conversation as easily with a gas station truck driver as a well-dressed executive. I feel GB and many commentators here write in a way which makes you want to indulge in a conversation with them. Imgaine a bar and we are all discussing over beer. I mean there may be loud noises, there may be disagreements, but you do enjoy the time and the drink. I type fast and often times, the writing is improptu and sometimes many mistakes creep in. What may seem like a long comment is actually me speaking. I have typed it in haste and it did not take me much time to do so. You don’t speak the way you write and vice versa. Now if I have to start a blog, I will have to give considerable thought (the subconscious thing of accountability to the reader) to grammer, punctuation, syntax, semantics, structure, concisenesses, pictures and other things which would all require investment of time. There are a lot of other commentators on this blog who could have easily become very popular bloggers. Lets take Hara Hara Bom Bom. He is a very good writer, much better than many so called ‘bloggers’. But I suspect that he too doesn’t have the time to blog regularly.

    Time is something that we all have a paucity of. As entertaining the internet is, I also have a variety of other activities and interests like the common man eg. day job, socializing, traveling, hang out, long drives, watching movies, going to restaurants, reading journals and business magazines, studying, running, gym, friends, some common vices etc etc. As an example, I am currently learning how to play golf. Now to some of you it may seem run-of-the-mill, but having grown up in a middle class family where a tennis racquet was seen as a novelty, let me tell you that it is very thrilling to me. So I would rather go out on a Sunday morning than stay home and blog. I am sure that this is no great loss to the blogosphere. I also have lost a great fraction of my attention span since my teens. That could partly be because I grew up in 80s and early 90s (Doordarshan era). I mean, seriously, you could not have shorter attention spans if you watched as drab a channel on TV like Doordarshan. There was no option of flipping across 100 channels. If my days now were like days back then, I would have certainly have had blogged. If I do start a blog, you will know as you will see a hyperlink on top of my comments.

    @Venky- Appreciate your comment. But I think you would rather than I write in my own style than try to imitate someone else’s if I do start a blog. Also don’t forget that when so you say GB, you are talking about the best. Now thats something to strive for but almost impossible to match.

    @Me Again- “Brevity, said The Bard, is the soul of wit.” I agree with that. The Bard said a lot of things. Take this quote from Act 1 , Scene 1 of Merchant of Venice:

    “There are a sort of men whose visages
    Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
    And do a wilful stillness entertain,
    With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion
    Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
    As who should say ‘I am Sir Oracle,
    And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!’
    O my Antonio, I do know of these
    That therefore only are reputed wise
    For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
    If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
    Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.”

  36. @yourfan2

    Point taken.

    @GB
    Sorry for taking up your blogspace for our mutual comments. Early days I would frown on the asides which kishor or hara hara bom bom etc would ‘indulge’ in. But I think with time, one feels at home and takes these liberties. Your silence on the matter is taken as approval if not encouragement.

    Care

  37. @ Kishor

    Ahhh…. yes! This was the film in which Chiru plays a wealthy industrialist Brij Vahan at day and fights crime dressed in a Thriller costume at night? Just enter “Indian Thriller” in youtube and you can see a video clipping.
    Trust me, the darkness and intensity will…… overwhelm you. Take that, Hollywood!
    😛

  38. I thought it was 20 mins too long. But definitely 4 **** s.
    No fking doubt bout that..

    The one where Ledger’s trailer somersaults while trying to crush Batman’s batmobil; that was simply awesome. The bat mobile (the 2 wheeler version) does not go for a head on crash, instead the dude slips in the iron rope from underneath the truck…. and brings about the most exciting collision…. like EVER
    fascinating stuff that…was. Technically brilliant movie

  39. To me the most appealing part of the movie was Joker being the representative of chaos. It made me think of my all time favorite book The Solitaire mystery’ where the joker represents annihilation and the start of an uncertain beginning. That’s why in Tarot readings when the joker comes the reader can’t read anything certain.

    I loved the movie, and I am glad I saw the very first show!

  40. you are absolutely correct in this review , and the fact that u did not mention batman at all shows how overshadowed the main characters got by the joker. I have a feeling that ledger went mad after doing this character so very well.

  41. @yourfan…ur explanation was much better thn this movie review…count me in for those who want u to start blogging

  42. To: yourfan2

    Couldn’t agree with you more on that one. A good movie at best and nothing more. Joker is hyped. Combine hollywood and european cinema and you can find number of roles which are leagues ahead of Joker. The fact that he died makes this role special because it’s commercially hyped.
    About the philosophy and message thing, come on. There are movies that touch many more finer aspects of philosophy in a much more simplistic and realistic way than this one.
    Roping in action that defies Newton at each and every frame and then adding some kind of philiosophy at the end and saying that this is a different kind of action movie because it has a message with it isn’t justified.
    Think of movies like Shawshank, Godfather, Amelie, Pulp Fiction etc and then compare Dark Knight. I would rather be surprised if anyone feels that it deserves to be compared with these. And then, this list doesn’t have european legendary works which, if included, will leave no scope for summertime entertainers like this one.

  43. Just to add, I am NOT saying that joker wasn’t good. In fact he was great. But you have a lot of great performers like that.

  44. @yourfan2: I too have been reading your responses for a long time on the blog & it has truly been a very entertaining & engrossing read …. I agree with a lot of people that you can take it to the next level by establishing a blog of your own & probably even make it a part-time profession.

    But I completely understand your arguments against it, about most of your comments being impromptu and ad-lib. So its your choice I guess, but I and a lot of others think that you can develop this onto a whole new level.

    @GB: Great Review as I said before for a truly great movie. I have now watched it a third time (morning show today!) in a week’s time. I am still keen for a 4th & possibly a 5th viewing! …. And here’s the review I wrote on my own blog:
    http://mindpuncture.blogspot.com/2008/07/dark-knight-is-shining-and-moving-piece.html

  45. Arnab,

    I saw the movie yesterday, and wish I hadn’t read your review before that. It is a good movie and is not overly reliant on superhero FX to tell the story – true, Batmobile, Batbike, etc., are used, but not more than necessary. This time the simple Batcape – representing the age old principles of gliding – fills in for the wow. Beyond that, “Evil as irrational, and senseless” is not a new theme, and has been dealt with in the movies. Given the slapdash scripting of Harvey Twoface – enters the movie too late to make any difference – even this theme doesn’t seem to have received much play. The “evil as senseless” idea is personified by the Joker, but explained by the butler Pennyworth. But with Michael Caine’s thick London accent bordering on Cockney, the lines, “So then what did you do about the bandit?” “We burned down the forest.” went over the heads of the audience. As usual Hollywood cannot ever, ever, script and act out feeling – and the cheesy scenes when Rachael Dawes and Harvey Dent await their doom through boom, were almost comical. And I am not impressed with the idea of Batman flirting with his darker side. I have seen it in Spiderman 3, and Toby McGuire, possibly because of his experience in a literary classic like “The Cider House Rules” emotes flawlessly, with flair. And consider that Toby McGuire carried the entire emotive burden without 2 greats like Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine and a 0.75 great like Gary Oldman to back him up!

    Ledger’s Joker is different from Nicholson’s which is meant to hew closely to the comic book version. Remember the comic book is a 2-D format and with small frames, neither FX nor expressions can convey the full impact of the drama (except for full pages every now and then). It is the lines and the narrative that carry the weight of the story.

    9.6/10 definitely not. But 7/10 OK.

  46. Just saw it last nite, seemed like a dark crime thriller almost. What was the big deal other than the fact that Heath Ledger isnt alive anymore?

  47. Watched the movie and was kinda waiting for your review. Must say that I am a little crestfallen. I mean it was a good movie as long as the people watching are not hard core DC fans. Moreover I somehow couldn’t buy the fact that it displaced the Godfather from its number 1 slot.
    Another thing that’s constantly been niggling me is whether people would be lauding Ledger’s performance as much as they are had he not been dead.
    Somehow, seem to agree more with the likes of ‘ak_nomborer_chotolok_mairi ‘ and ‘kaangeya’

  48. Several months ago, I read a review of “Rang de Basanti” on this website, and wholeheartedly agreed with GB. To make an objective opinion about something, one needs to allow himself time so that the initial impulse response dies down and cool level-headed cognizance becomes the dominant factor. Unfortunately, the untimely death of Heath Ledger has led to serious clouding of judgment of numerous people, and GB also falls prey to the mass hysteria.

    Mind you, I am not dismissing the cinematic excellence of “The Dark Knight.” I am renouncing the hysteric glorification of it. Two years down the line, several others will also agree with me.

  49. saw the movie finally..i guess it is a bit ovrhyped!!!! I would go for a rating of not more than 8 unlike the lakhs of users on IMDB who has given it a 9.5 .
    May be if you watch it the second time you will agree to me.

  50. Superb movie.. simply superb. Mind blowing. No arguing. The plot is so thick and intense that I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Even while watching it for the second time. People who think the movie is overhyped simply havent understood the movie…

    – I believe, anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stranger!
    – Why… So… Serious??
    – D’you want to know how I got these scars??
    – I need a phone call.
    – Do I look like a guy who has a plan? I am like dogs chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do when I get to one. I just… do things!!

  51. “Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” is a violently disturbing, nightmarish journey into the proverbial heart of darkness exploring evil, good, and the tenuous line that separates them.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  52. I loved this movie. Different from the usual batman movie, this is definitely dark. Ledger has now replaced Nicholson as Joker’s image in my head.

  53. I loved Heath Ledger in this movie. He was scary ! Could have given Jack Nicholson a run for his money. And that’s saying a lot coz I am a Nicholson fan. About Christian Bale.. *sigh* *deep sigh* *day dreams*
    Did I mention that I had a crush on Bruce Wayne as a kid 😛

  54. @kaangeya

    True. I would go and rate it to 7.5 at best but anything above it is overrating.
    IMDB is not the bible of good movies but even there the top 10-20 are amazing in their own ways and this one doesn’t even come remotely close to those.

    @Bhatta, true we didn’t understand the movie but IMDB’s top 1000 (regular) voters have voted The Dark Knight at 7.9. A lot of junta has voted it at 10 and they downgraded Godfather with votes like 0 and 1 to pull it down and take this one on top. This itself shows that their motive was to take Dark Knight on IMDB by hook or crook.

  55. @ Yourfan2

    “ theme of collusion from economics…”

    Technically speaking, Nolan borrowed the idea of prisoner’s dilemma from Game theory, where it’s better for both to defect (i.e. activate the detonator), though in the movie, human goodness triumphs over the dominant strategy indicated by the Game theory.

    Fantastic comment otherwise, worthy of the great post. You should seriously consider blogging, as others have suggested- despite the reservations you have expressed in a subsequent comment. I am sure it’ll be worth the effort.

  56. while i agree with the fact that the movie being No.1 on IMDB is a bit too much, it still does not alter the fact that we have a masterpiece here. Nolan will no doubt go down as one of the greatest directors we have seen – Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins and now the The Dark Knight. Each one is superb.

    An aside for those who think that IMDB users have vote-stuffed the movie into the No. 1 slot. Check this: http://www.imdb.com/ratings_explained

    @yourfan2: i would definitely be amongst the ppl who wud read your blog, however please don’t stop commenting on GB’s blog if you do start your own. Your comments add to the uniqueness of this blog, and contribute to making this the best indian blog.

  57. I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said about the Dark Knight. The best super hero movie I’ve ever seen and I think Nolan achieved that because his plot was about a hero having to make a moral compromise. The moral quandary that is part of the end I believe lifts it over all other movies of this genre. I don’t know much about the Mahabharath, but I found some parallels with The Dark Knight’s moral dilemma and that of Arjun’s. Maybe that is what made this a very mature superhero movie for me. Nolan deserves a lot of credit for that. In contrast to another reader, I found Maggie Gyllenhaal made the movie better for me. She is a kick ass actress and she is unconventionally beautiful. She is adorable in a way I can’t imagine Katie Holmes (seen her in Stranger than Fiction anyone?) Never felt the Joker was an actor.

  58. I think the atmosphere in the theatres in US when Dark Knight released had a lot to do with the tone of the review. I watched it in a theatre in US on the day it released and was blown away by the movie and the fact that 99% audience was awestruck by it.
    I didn’t feel the same way when I watched it again on DVD (which I bought on the day it was released).

    I think Heath Ledger would have received more attention and awards had he been alive. He was simply awesome.

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