The Dark Knight
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Warner Bros. Picture
Christopher Nolan gave new life to the Caped Crusader franchise with his 2005 adaptation Batman Begins. His second film about the comic book icon smashes all expectations of the much-hyped The Dark Knight. Serving endless climatic scenes and twisting the imagination with his unsettling use of darkness in the film, Nolan reminds the audience about the stuff heroes are made of.
Nolan, whose prior work includes Memento in 2000, imagines the battle between good and evil with his sublime use of lighting. One side is lit by the dark shadows of the Caped Crusader, who tries to restore a sense of goodness to humanity as it is plagued by corruption and greed. In the other corner, light is blunted by the sheer darkness of our villain, the Joker.
Despite having all the makings of a summer blockbuster it is also backed by strong, Oscar-worthy performances. The ensemble of all-star actors is led by Christian Bale, playing an ever darkening hero who struggles to carry on the responsibilities of a hero in the sleazy city of Gotham.
Bale is flanked by a deck of ace actors and Oscar winners, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Caine returns as the trusty servant Alfred Pennyworth; Freeman, as Lucius Fox, continues to supply weapons to the masked vigilante.
Batman gets a new partner in The Dark Knight, District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who acts as a “white knight” for Gotham. Together, the two fight crime amid their battle over Rachel Dawes, who is played by the blushing Maggie Gyllenhaal. As the assistant D.A., the gorgeous Gyllenhaal reveals her fighting spirit and expands the role as the saucy public servant out to serve justice.
However, the full house of stars only heightens the late Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker. With his portrayal of Joker, Ledger unmasks the unmistakable parallels between Gotham’s hero and its villains, and his performance is already generating plenty of much-deserved Oscar buzz.
The smeared face paint, scars and crude lipstick heighten his menace and manifest his pursuit of destruction. As he incessantly licks his lips, the Joker relishes the havoc he creates within the city. He threatens civilization with absolute corruption, seeking a system devoid of rules and laws, attempting to prove that evil is like gravity, and even the best of us require nothing more than a little push.