Sunday, July 27, 2008

Film Review: The Dark Knight

By Eric Green

The Dark Knight [The newest Batman Film]

This is not meant to be a film review. Films like the newest Batman film, "Dark Knight", by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, is far too much into the genre of high speed, over-the-top loudness and other pyrotechniques for me to give it a fair review. I just don't appreciate these films. Clearly, they make a contribution to the film world; many film lovers enjoy and spend time reviewing them. In fact, if it was not for Heath Ledger's performance and it being his last film, I would have passed on it.

The acting by Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhall were both excellent. Gyllenhaal's performance is especially worth noting. This film will surely further propel her career.

The performances of Gary Oldman and Eric Roberts were also enjoyable to watch.

Ledger on a Different Level

It is the performance by Ledger that will be talked about for years and decades to come. His career cut short at 28 years of ago with a body of work that includes his stellar performance in "Broke Back Mountain." That award winning performance was followed in the same year with his interpretation of "Casanova." He was equally amazing in that film.

There is no doubt in my mind, given the lasting memories of "Broke Back Mountain" and this film, Ledger's life in the hearts and minds of film people will continue to grow. His future films and aspiring director career were on peoples' minds.

It reminds me of John Garfield, a great actor in the late 1940s, whose life was cut short under suspicious circumstances at the age of 39. He is still remembered. And, of course, the great James Dean, whose life ended at the shorter age of 24.

It is reported that Jack Nicholson, a former "Joker" player in a previous Batman film, warned Ledger about the mentally demanding role that is present to the kind of actor he knew Ledger to be. Nicholson's warning was sadly prophetic.

Watching the film was a strong mixture of "what am I doing here watching this kind of film" and then the "Joker", Heath Ledger, would enter the big screen, and I became quite content and happy to be there.

It is said that his would be supporting role for the awards events of the year 2008. So be it. In this film, no one came even close to his performance, the performances by the other actors were quite good.

While I rarely agree with the film editor of the NY Times, Manohla Dargis, in this review she said it better than I could ever: "….Mr. Ledger's performance and the film's visual beauty are transporting. (In Imax, it's even more operatic.) No matter how cynical you feel about Hollywood, it is hard not to fall for a film that makes room for a shot of the Joker leaning out the window of a stolen police car and laughing into the wind, the city's colored lights gleaming behind him like jewels. He's just a clown in black velvet, but he's also some kind of masterpiece."

See the film for Ledger's performance.