Dark Knight plays second fiddle to Crazy Clown

At first I didn’t want to do an entire post on the new Batman movie. But there’s just too much to say.

As the brilliant Tim Buckley put it: “Wow.”

First of all, a few things before I get into the main event.

Gary Oldman, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Cillian Murphy: all four have pretty distinct accents in real life. Think about it when you watch the movie.

Next, it’s almost a shame that the huge acting talents of Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are in this movie, ’cause they’re all freakin’ swamped by one man’s performance.

Surprise, small role by Anthony Michael Hall in there. Nothing to rave over, it was just funny to see him in there.

WARNING: the following link, the rest of my post, will contain spoilers. If you don’t intend on seeing the movie, or have already seen it, dive in.
But if you do want to see the movie, I suggest you wait to read it.

Who knew that tossing psycho Katie Holmes and getting good ol’ Maggie Gyllenhaal would actually work succesfully? Normally I’m not a fan of the same character being played by two different people, but Gyllenhaal’s acting chops are much better than Holmes’s, so she managed to pull Rachel Dawes off.

Not to mention they conveniently blew her ass up in the end. But, Batman’s going to be a lot darker (believe it or not) in the next one anyway. How do I know, you ask? Think about the ending. He takes credit for the deaths, to clear Dent’s name. He gets Gotham to be pissed at him so Dent is still the White Knight in their eyes. So the next one is going to be him being even more renegade, vigilante action.

In terms of Dent: first of all, I ADORED Eckhart’s performance. He’s an amazing actor who hasn’t gotten as much credit as he should have in his career. I expectecd Two Face to be at the end of this film, linking over into the next one, being the third villain. I was very surprised when they whacked him in the end.

Michael Caine, as usual, is ruddy brilliant. As Alfred Pennyworth, he plays the more human logic side to Bruce Wayne’s steely resolve. Not to mention I fucking love his thick accent.

Christian Bale still rocks the Bat. The only one I think rivals his performance is Michael Keaton’s, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Keaton, he’s very under-appreciated. The only problem I have with Bale’s performance is sometimes his “Batman voice” gets a little too much for me. But I’ll gladly take that on to see his really kick-ass Batman in general.

Gary Oldman, one of the greatest character actors of this generation, manages to keep James Gordon under the radar. If you were to ask people coming out of the theater how they liked Oldman’s performance, the conversation would skip right to the main attraction of the Joker, but that’s what’s supposed to happen. Oldman very succesfully plays the support in this film, while still shining with his immense talent.

And now, the main dish.

First of all, the rumors are saying that Ledger got so involved in his character that he had to start taking medication and shit to deal with it all. All of the cast of the film, when interviewed, deny the shit out of this. Who knows whether they’re being honest or not. No way to know. Part of me, the really sick, cynical part, thinks that Warner Bros. approached Ledger and said something along the lines of:

“Heath, you gotta take one for the team. This is your swan song performance. You go out now, it’ll get even bigger raves. Awards all over the place. Think of what it’ll do for the movie, Heath.”

Or maybe they just killed him without even talking to him about it. Ooh, wouldn’t that be scandalous?

Regardless, the word is that he was taking various types of medication and just happened to mix them the wrong way. Accidental overdose. No suicide. No murder. Just a goddamn shame that such a young, amazing talent as he should die so early.

The Joker is clearly his greatest performance in his entire repetoire.

The voice: high pitched and quick, nothing like the slower drawl of Ledger’s. No accent at all.

The laugh: every time his manic cackle cut across the screen I had goosebumps. There was nothing forced in it. That man genuinely had the insane laugh of a mad man.

The physicallity: his hunched shoulders, shuffling gait, even the way he held objects had a particular peculiarity to it, of a man who didn’t really feel entirely comfortable.

The mouth work: what got me more than the laugh was his subconcious focus on the mouth. The constant licking of lips and tonguing of slashes almost made me feel a certain amount of pity for him, and yet it added so much to the insanity of the character.

Every single time he came on the screen I was either gasping or just completely breathless. It was an awe-some role.

Will he get an award? Absolutely. Whether it’s best actor or supporting (I can’t tell what he’d be nominated for), I am very confident in the fact that he’ll get the due praise he deserves. And it’s no pity award either. He damn-well deserves it.

Will the Joker be back in the next film? I really don’t think so. He wasn’t dead at the end of the second one, sure. But I think, if we see the Joker at all, it’ll be a glimpse of him in Arkham Assylum and that’s it. I think it would be disrespectful to Ledger to replace him like was done with Holmes.

Who’s gonna be the next villain? Well, my thought is as follows: during the movie, Batman is attacked by a lot of dogs. At one point, Bruce Wayne asks Lucious Fox to rebuild his body armor so he can move more quickly. When Wayne sees the new armor, he asks Fox if it can withstand dog attacks. Fox jokes, it can take on chihuahuas. It’ll stand up to cats. But big dogs…blahblah. That’s our clue. I think the declaration of the Bat armor stading up to cats is the clue that we’ll be seeing Cat Woman in the next Batman movie. Whether that has any basis in truth, I have absolutely no clue. But it really popped out at me when I heard it said so nonchallantly.

So, Batman ranks top on my movie list thus far. #1: Batman. #2: Hancock. #3: Iron Man. That’s right, Hancock over Iron Man.

Anyway, the point is: if you want to see a brilliant cast, fantastic writing, an immensely successful sequel, a beautiful edition to the Batman pantheon, and quite possibly the best acting job I’ve ever seen in my entire life, The Dark Knight is the one to see.

It’s not all just hype.

“You won’t kill me ’cause you’re just so pure. And I won’t kill you ’cause you’re so damn fun.”

Go see it.


~ by Cynik on July 21, 2008.

One Response to “Dark Knight plays second fiddle to Crazy Clown”

  1. would like to see this for Ledger’s performance (which I’d heard was amazing) but haven’t watched a Batman movie since……well, the first one. ’89…they’ve gotten too dark for me. Nice to hear that Ledger lived up to the hype.

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