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Chris High reviews books, movies, albums, theatre and gigs.

The Dark Knight

Directed, Co-Produced, Co-Written by: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Running Time: 2hrs 20 mins

Promotional image for the movie: Dark Knight

Lots of hype, press coverage everywhere, Heath Loedger being nominated for posthumouis Oscars left, right and centre. The Dark Night, Bale’s second outing as the mean and moody Caped Crusader, is bound to be crap right? Er, well, actually, no. This is cinematic magic, with everybody concerned at the very top of their game and all the effects, action and storylines combining to create the best Comic-strip based flick since, possibly, Sin City.


A group of Mobsters have Gotham by the short and curlies and, with a Hong Kong drug lord adding further problems, Batman has enough on his plate without a schizophrenic clown making things even more difficult.

 

Bale is delightfully undertsated as the The Bat. His cool charm and sincerity shine through as mild-mannered Billionaire, Bruce Wayne, via every pore, nuance and half-raised smile, only to be displaced completely when he dons the black teflon gimp-suit to fight crime. Indeed, the only gripe througout is Bale’s gravel-filled vocals when playing the crime fighter, as they become a little distracting. This notwithstanding, however, its hard to imagine anybody else in the role now.

Michael Caine, Bruce’s butler – Alfred Pennywise – and Morgan Freeman – The Bat’s “Q” – are, well, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman and are pretty damn good at it to be fair, with the true shining lights being Aaron Eckhart as new Gotham DA, Harvey Dent, who when hideously burned becomes a much more sinister and believeable character in Two-face, who’s grin is perfect for any wannabe politician with an agenda. The other must-see is Gary Oldman who doesn’t know how to make bad films. His Lieutenant James Gordon is all empathy and underscored values, with an edge that is, at times, quite captivating.
Talking of edge, Heath Ledger is deeply disturbing and puts in possibly his finest shift in his last movie. His Joker is no comical pastiche of evil as provided by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 Tim Burton flick. Instead, this bad guy is truly disgusting and the look in his eyes, the curl of his heavily made up lips and bedraggled hair and suit make you shudder. As for the ever-changing recounts of how he came to be so hideously defaced are a master-stroke of writing, which hide brilliantly any kind of insight into the crook’s flawed psyche.

The shooting, costumes and, yes, the gizmos are all jaw dropping (wait until the Bat-bike appears. If you don’t go “wow” out loud, check your pulse. You may have died), but never leaned on, whilst the score is just so right for everything that’s taking place.
The Dark Knight has been written about on enough paper to cover Gotham City from corner to corner and every word that’s been written about both it and Heath Ledger’s final performance is one hundred per cent accurate. Go, go, go.
5/ 5
Chris High.

 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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