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THE DARK KNIGHT by Christopher Nolan


Why so serious?
Gotham City is still a corrupt place, and as much as Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) would like to retire and settle with Rachel Daws (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and despite the rise of new incorruptible district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman is still needed. Especially when a new villain emerges in Gotham who operates with a previously unknown brutality, steals from the mob and then takes over the mob to give them a new goal: Kill Batman!
The man calls himself the Joker (Heath Ledger), his face is scarred and covered with heavy make-up, nobody knows his identity or his real goals. He seems not to be interested in money, but only in spreading chaos, death and destruction – and in bringing down the Batman.

When Batman Begins was about Bruce Wayne, Batman and his origin story, then The Dark Knight (the first movie in the franchise without the word “Batman” in the title) is about the Joker. No time is wasted with the Joker’s Origins Story, and that was the right decision. An origin story would only reduce the Joker to someone – or something – smaller. He has no name, no face, no history (every time he tells the story about how his face got disfigured, it’s a different story), no obvious motivation. He is Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos, Death, Destruction and Madness are paving his way, and there is definitly nothing funny about him. And Heath Ledger doesn’t play the Joker, he channels him in his last but without doubt best performance.
The Joker is Chaos, and Batman is his mirror-image, Order. But can Order, can Batman, with his self-imposed rules, prevail when Chaos reigns? The Joker loves to create moral dilemmas, and Bruce Wayne/Batman is forced to use procedures that evoke images of the real world post 9/11: Intensive Interrogation, and wiretapping the whole city, leading to the resignation of Bruce’s friend Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).
With Batman clearly playing second fiddle to the Joker, there is still something going on with the Batman character. For the good of the city he has to sacrifice whatever good reputation Batman may have had left, thus truly becoming The Dark Knight, and a new element is introduced into the franchise, showing Batman as what he always was beside a skilled fighter – the ultimate detective.
Supporting characters Alfred (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Gordon (Gary Oldman) are doing the best that’s possible with the limited screentime they have, the only weak points are Aaron Eckhart who doesn’t really fit into Gotham City as Harvey Dent and doesn’t show the same calibre as an actor as Heath and Bale when it comes to his characters’ transformation, and Maggie Gyllenhaal who doesn’t have the necessary chemistry with Christian Bale.
Story and performances (of the main characters) are much more than you would expect from a comic adaptation – The Dark Knight is serious, dark stuff, and the Joker is anything but a clown. The Dude was right to fear the Nihilists.

Maggie Gyllenhall and Aaron Eckhart  Heath Ledger is the Joker 

The Dark Knight Movie Trailer

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