Review: The Dark Knight

August 16, 2008

We've been big fans of the Burton Batman films and the first one from Nolan, so we had high expectation going into the theater for The Dark Knight today. We were not let down. I won't be the first to observe that the violence was quite indirect (thankfully), that the pacing was strange, and that the human/social analysis was fascinating without slapping you in the face.

The pace didn't bother me much, in fact I was reminded a bit of the original Star Wars with its dual climaxes. At some point it felt like the film could end, but then realized that Harvey Dent was still whole and kicking, so it couldn't be done yet. It was also around that point (2/3?) that I thought to myself "this has been good, but not as psychological as I expected". I don't want to spoil anything, making it difficult, but there were several major feints in the film, and it was in the second one that I started to see the typical Nolan psych-knot really start winding tight, coiling and uncoiling in 6 dimensional space.

Leaving the film felt like stepping off a roller-coaster, leaving my stomach churning. I had a similar feeling after The Prestige, only more so then. And it was this psychological drama that did it, throwing my head and gut in opposite directions and giving me mental whiplash.

I left thinking about the world we live in, this world that looks so nice and lovely as we tried to walk off that feeling in the mall — which didn't work so well, given how crowded and vapid the place was. Cushy life masquerading social malaise and the hardship our lifestyles cause for much of the rest of the world. Disjointed, Phelphs-chearing lives far removed from the realities of rape in Darfur, of no shoes for school in St. Louis, of desecrated graves in Iran. And so on.

What will it take to make a better world for all? If there is a cure at all, can we withstand the burn going down the throat? Is that burn from our own ego and willfulness, or because the cure, like aconitum, poisons in too large a dose? Is it better to willfully drink the potion and corrupt the self or to throw it aside and hope the "natural" course will correct itself? (think of the boat scene).

Oh, one complaint: women in refrigerators.