Jul 21, 2008

Best Movie Ever?

It's over. What little competition there was in the superhero film genre can now be completely dismissed. Nothing comes close to The Dark Knight. This movie can't even be equated to other hero flicks. If you need to make a comparison, it will have to be against the likes of Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Chinatown and even The Godfather. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a great one. Despite its two and a half hour runtime, I can't wait to get in the theater and see it again.

The film benefits from the focus you get when the writer, director and producer are all the same person - in this case, Christopher Nolan. You could strip this movie of all its comic book dressings and we'd be left with a phenomenal crime thriller. Maybe this level of grit and depth is only possible because the Batman universe is actually a comic book world devoid of super powers. In fact, where The Dark Night gets tripped up most is when its stepping on its own cape trying to keep the fantastical elements of the characters front and center.

Could expectations have been any higher for Heath Ledger's performance? I don't recall the last time I went to a movie with one actor's performance so exhaustively hyped. His early demise certainly fueled that fire, fanning the ballyhoo to near mythological proportions. No man could possibly deliver on this promise. Or could he? I tried to take a critical eye to his performance from the outset, but by frame one of the Joker's first scene in full jester togs, I was sold that he was the new king of one of film's classic, even if overrated, performances. Sorry, Jack. By the end of The Dark Knight, I was convinced that Ledger's Joker would be considered one of the all time great villains along the likes of Hannibal Lector and Nurse Ratched. Since my writing skills and Ledger's thespianism aren't even in the same universe, I won't attempt to describe his acting. I will say, Heath Ledger alone is worth the price of admission on this one.

Sans Ledger, Christian Bale's turn as Bruce Wayne might have been notable. In fact, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman all bring sturdy performances to the table. And can someone please tell me who to thank for wisely scrapping Katie Holmes for Maggie Gyllenhaal as attorney Rachel Dawes? I owe them a fruit basket at the very least.

The movie isn't perfect. There is a certain "cheese" factor to some of the vigilante philosophy debating that blankets the story. Though it moved briskly through all two and a half hours, the plot itself was still tedious at times. And, I know, the Bat Tumbler (Batmobile) and Bat Pod (Batcycle) are meant for a very specific, basement dwelling, bra clasp challenged, demographic of which I am not a part, but is all the hokey Bat-tech necessary? I'm still wondering why the Bat Pod was even conceived for this movie and even worse, why its delivery was so poorly executed.

The handful of snags, though, won't scuttle the whole production, and like I said, Ledger alone is worth heading to the theater to see. Best movie ever? Probably not. But awesome nonetheless.

For those of you that have seen The Dark Knight, what is your take?

By the way, if you really want to understand how good this movie is, rent and watch Batman & Robin before you go see The Dark Knight.


Charity Donovan said...

You talked me into it! I'm there next weekend...that is if I can get a seat! Holy Sold Out EVERYWHERE!!!

James said...

I had to buy our tickets online a week and a half before the show.

Ward and June said...

Right then. We'll be seeing it tonight. Thanks for the post.


Anyone know where I can get a web cam?

Ward and June said...

The movie was great. I agree about the stupid Bat-Pod thing, I could have lived without that. Too bad they left the Joker alive in the movie and Ledger had to die, I would have loved to see him blow up Arkham Asylum and wreak another round of havok on poor ole Gotham.