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Ledger, Bale deliver in Dark KnightPosted Friday, July 18, 2008, at 8:30 PM
With the hype machine in full force for the past several months, the Dark Knight finally makes its debut tonight in theaters across America. As with any overly hyped movie, there is the threat, the almost certainty that there will be some level of letdown once you make your way back to your car. Don't expect that to happen with The Dark Knight.
Knight is by far the best picture of the year so far, shrouding a "comic book movie" in a complex character study. The allegory mirrors themes in our current society and will make you take notice of eerie parallels.
And here we go.
The Dark Knight is complex, wide in scope and unbelievably entertaining. You'll find yourself more than once wanting to become interactive with the images on the screen. They beg for your attention and once they have it, you can't get it back.
Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is finally beginning to wrangle in crime in Gotham and is the brightest hope for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) to be able to shed the cowl of Batman forever. Dent has a vision for Gotham and with the efforts of Batman and Lieutenant Gordon (Gary Oldman); it finally looks like the criminals of the city are ready to put up their hands.
With their backs against the wall, the mob is approached and finally turns to a new kind of criminal. This new criminal has plans for Batman and, lucky for us, we get to go along for the ride.
A better class of criminal...
The Joker (Heath Ledger) explodes on the scene in the first five minutes of the flick but we are formally introduced later as the killer clown performs a magic trick that will make you cringe with laughter -- and you'll hate yourself for it.
After securing his spot on top, the Joker's agenda is clearly laid out -- there is no agenda. Like Alfred (Michael Caine) says, "Some people just want to watch the world burn," and that is the Joker.
The Joker has that creep factor that all villains aspire for. You'll find yourself shifting in your seat as he saunters across the screen and delivers lines that are as sharp as his knives. This is one of the most disturbing, yet hilarious characters to grace the screen.
You've changed things -- forever.
Batman and The Joker dance a twisted and dark minuet that builds throughout the film. The fate of either character seems in jeopardy all through the movie and that is what is so mesmerizing about it. There's no kidding when the Joker tells Batman "You complete me." The Joker needs Batman cause he is the catalyst for the Joker's mayhem. Both scramble for position but where Wayne has a threshold he won't break, The Joker is more than happy to wreak anarchy over all of Gotham. He even isn't immune to his own dementia.
It's all part of the plan.
Knight is an evolution of characters and you won't find a weak one anywhere on the screen. Eckhart and Bale deliver great performances two of the lead character and Caine provides the most heart in the film. The scenes with Caine and Bale are unbelievable. Maggie Gyllenhaal stepped in to the character of Rachel and delivers some much needed sass and spunk in that role. But it's Ledger that steals the show.
Ledger is a force. As the Joker promenades through this sinister and disturbing world, Ledger is nowhere to be found. In his last completed performance, Ledger creates a fiendish villain that deserves a place close to the top in film history.
Final Cut: Dark Knight is simply a masterpiece. Rarely does all the elements come together to create a perfect vision, but Christopher Nolan achieves it in this picture. Knight is a morality play that satisfies on all levels.
Rating: 4 out of 4 stars