Chris Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige) made a good movie with The Dark Knight, but I found it flawed, out-of-balance. As typical of films of this type, I cannot remember chair-grabbing moments, since I was too busy processing information, and wasn’t provided enough space and time for that. Sure there were impressive ka-boom scenes, motor vehicles thrown inventively whirring along Gotham’s streets and tunnels, and all that unpredictable psycho-play with the Joker as architect, but who the hell was the audience rooting for to save the day? Sure it wasn’t The Dark Knight: his character development in the story was slim, shoddy, forced-to-impress, and he was too busy being bitter over Rachel Dawes, who in this offering, was only a story-peg to lead to a point. Jim Gordon? The story twist involving him was expected, and everything else comic fodder. Maybe it was Harvey Dent, because it was established well that he was indeed the White Knight of Hope Gotham needed via the caped, oddly hoarse-voiced vigilante.
But I was rooting for the Joker, the scene-stealer, to save my time and moviepass money. I wanted him to be the force that skews the storytelling, the contraption to bend the pounded nail (nail = Batman and his now-tired drama). The viewer is provided with an overplayed and menacing comic villain, gloriously underplayed and easily scary. This was no page off of Tim Burton’s gothic reference manual: this was an amazing movie-persona we are sadly now grieving over because Heath Ledger is dead.
What was good about it all was that Nolan didn’t exactly hold our hand and scared the shit out of us through his horror house, like any other Hollywood director that winks at us before a climactic scene ufnolds. What was bad was that throughout the 152 minutes, we easily got tired of Batman and everyone else, but was easily charmed by a man wearing make-up. Oh, and a nurse’s dress.
UPDATE: Read a real movie review from Noel Vera here: http://criticafterdark.blogspot.com/2008/07/dark-knight-christopher-nolan2008.html