Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.

Release: 07.18.2008

Rated PG-13
2 hours, 32 minutes

> FULL PRICE ($$$$)


Thanks to my vacay, I came a bit late to
The Dark Knight. For the seventeen of you in the world that have yet to see this film and the gaggles of readers who have been waiting with bated breath, let's see what the Whore has to say about the biggest film of the year.

The Dark Knight picks up some time after the events of Batman Begins with Batman (Christian Bale, The Prestige) continuing to fight crime on the mean streets of Gotham. As the caped crusader works with Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element) to take down Gotham's crime bosses, an individual known only as the Joker (Heath Ledger, I'm Not There) is threatening the city as well as its established mob syndicates. On the flipside, District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking) is quickly rising as Gotham's shining knight within the Halls of Justice. As Batman, Gordon and Dent pledge to eradicate the city's organized crime, their targets employ the Joker to put the interfering bat out of commission.

Writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento) returns to the Batman franchise, crafting a tale with Jonathan Nolan (Memento) and David S. Goyer (Blade) that attains a structure and momentum unseen in comic-book adaptations to date. Mob bosses divvy up the City's burrows, dirty cops sell their colleagues to the wolves, gangs of bat-inspired vigilantes wreak as much havoc as the madmen who attempt to carve their own initials into Gotham's underbelly. Painting these mainstays of Gotham into the film gives the story a vibrance and solidifies the hefty burden Batman and his like-minded partners have shouldered. In simpler comic book tales, we see the central hero battle against one, maybe two villains who are hellbent on a singular purpose. In the Dark Knight we see Gotham as a festering mass, with the Joker erupting from its epicenter as a whole new kind of evil, a product of his surroundings much like Batman.

With the world's stage set, the actors come to play. Bale remains phenomenal as Batman and playboy Bruce Wayne. Oldman just breathes the integrity of Gordon. The hype surrounding Ledger's final performance is far from hype; within the first few moments of his official introduction to the mob, I was sold that a) he is the Joker and b) this film was going to kick ass. And yes, Aaron Eckhart made me believe in Harvey Dent. Returning cast members Michael Caine (Quills)and Morgan Freeman (Unleashed) add a jovial and fatherly counterbalance to Batman's brooding. The character of Rachel Dawes, now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Criminal), is a breath of fresh air. Gyllenhaal asserts Dawes as a woman who is both fearful of the path the men in her life tread and steadfast to weather the turmoil. Eric Roberts (It's My Party) plays devilish well and I look forward to seeing what he and Anthony Michael Hall (TV: The Dead Zone) will contribute to the next installment of this franchise.

Dirty Undies
To say Dark Knight is a dark tale is an understatement. The Joker is represented at his best when he's conceived as coldly calculating yet seemingly random. His wanton destruction, murder and callousness are so dark and devious they'll send a shiver down your spine. All the doom and gloom is lit up by explosions that leave massive carnage in their wake. The fight and chase sequences have only improved from Batman Begins with the camerawork yielding more blunt impact and fewer jittery sequences. Though it has a PG-13 rating, expect a film that emits an R-rated tone.

The Money Shot
If you haven't seen The Dark Knight by now, shame on you or whoever has kept you from it.

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