Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Bob Kane (characters), David S. Goyer (story/screenplay), Christopher Nolan (story/screenplay), Jonathan Nolan (screenplay)
Running time: 152 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 24th July 2008
Watched on DVD Saturday 14th July 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I guess there’s little I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said, apart from things like ‘Terrible’ and ‘Nolan should be ashamed’, but of course I’m not going to lie… It’s truly epic and a fitting tribute to Heath Ledger who is totally awesome as the Joker (and believe me I’m not saying that just because he’s no longer with us). Amazingly it’s only the second time I’ve seen it, not surprising given its length and the busy lives we lead these days, but I must say it really gripped me all the way through. More on the grippyness of it after this very brief summary.
Having tied up the lose ends from ‘Batman Begins’, a new villain is in town to taunt the Batman. This guy, the Joker, pulls no punches in his rise to the top of the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent’s, wanted list. Although he still believes the police force is untrustworthy me’s willing to work with Lt. Jim Gordon, who he knows can get him into contact with Batman. The pair meet and Batman is impressed and believes he’s the man to take over his work; a ‘hero with a face’, to use his words. Dent is dating Bruce Wayne’s childhood girlfriend, Rachel Dawes who is one of the very few that know he is Batman (Sorry if that’s a spoiler, but if you didn’t know that by now…). Meanwhile the Joker has made overtures to the organised crime bosses of the city and has given them an offer… He’ll kill Batman for half of their money. Will they take him up on the offer? Is Harvey Dent the hero Batman hopes he is? Well, I guess I had better not say here or the Spoiler police (Gotham Division) will have me banged up in Arkham Asylum (again).
Beautifully made with an excellent score by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer that really sets the tone and carries themes over from the first film ‘Batman Begins’. Lots of physical stunts used although there was some CGI in evidence; both were excellently done. Performance-wise, well star billing has to go to Heath Ledger as the Joker; I doubt I’ll ever see a bad guy quite like that again, he was awesome! Of course, Christian Bale did his usual excellent work as Batman/Bruce Wayne, as did Michael Caine as Alfred. Aaron Eckhart was much better than I remembered (from first viewing) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Maggie Gyllenhaal did a decent job as Rachel Dawes. Gary Oldman as Lt. Jim Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox complete the starring line-up and both were excellent as ever.
I usually find, when watching a film of this length, that there is always a passage where your mind wanders and you find yourself drifting away from what’s on the screen. Not so with this film; Nolan keeps your attention all the way through, whether it’s with stunning action sequences or with the dialogue or just with the interaction between the characters that (by then) you’ve become invested in. He really is a master of his art and I can only hope he goes on to make even better films in the future. As for ‘The Dark Knight’ well I knocked a couple of points off for the ‘tidy-up form Batman Begins’ sequence at the beginning; I didn’t think it was necessary. Other than that it was near-perfect… VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.7/10
IMDb Score: 8.9/10 (based on 726,635 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 82/100: (Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 96/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 1,167,671 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Gotham National Bank Manager: Think you're pretty smart, huh? The guy that hired youze, he'll just do the same to you. Oh, criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in, huh? WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?
[Bozo leans down and sticks a gas grenade in the manager's mouth]
Bozo: I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...
[takes off his mask, revealing the Joker]
The Joker: ...stranger.
Bruce Wayne: Targeting me won't get their money back. I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Alfred Pennyworth: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them; you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.
Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.
Alfred Pennyworth: With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: So why steal them?
Alfred Pennyworth: Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
The Chechen: What you do with all your money?
The Joker: See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I enjoy dynamite, and gunpowder, and... gasoline!
[he pours gasoline on the mountain of cash]
The Chechen: [panicked] What the...?
The Joker: Ah-ta-ta-ta-ta. And you know the thing they have in common? They're cheap.
Natascha: How could you want to raise children in a city like this?
Bruce Wayne: Well, I grew up in Gotham, and I turned out all right.
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/dvdsite/