Movie of the Year...

Finally!

Today I took my young nephew to see The Dark Knight.

He made me promise not to see it without him, and this was the earliest opportunity we both had to go. Eleven-year-olds have busy schedules, after all...

I've been a Batmaniac since I was six, so my judgement is a little clouded, but I have to say that as long as I live (and I plan to live forever) there will never be a performance to match that of Heath Ledger as the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Joker was always insanely, and sometimes even casually, brutal - I recall a moment in one of the Rogers/Englehart stories (Detective Comics 475 - The Laughing Fish) in which a henchman, in order to get Joker to explain his plan to the reader, asks 'What are you going to do, Boss?'

Joker, putting a fatherly arm around the goon's shoulders, tells him 'I have another matter to attend to, Blue-eyes', before pushing the hapless henchman under the wheels of a passing truck with the comment 'Mind your own business!'

Ledger, in this performance, recalls this effortlessly. His Joker knows he's insane, he knows he's a psychopath - but, not alone does he not care, he positively embraces the fact. He sees Batman as his 'other side', his raison d'etre, and revels in the challenge of bringing both him and Gotham to their knees.

Not to take anything away from the rest of the cast - Christian Bale once more manages the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman with almost effortless ease, while Gary Oldman's Jim Gordon, a world-weary cop suddenly thrust into the top spot, is spot-on.

Maggie Gyllenhall, for me, was better in the role of Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes, but that's a matter of taste.

Michael Caine's Alfred and Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox (two actors who deserve Academy Awards by default) remain pivotal characters in the world of the Caped Crusader, as well as moral compasses for Bruce Wayne and Batman, respectively.

And then there's Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent.

A dynamic, righteous crusader for justice, new Gotham District Attorney Dent finds himself driven over the edge when brutally scarred in his pursuit of the Joker. Eckhart brings a credible pathos to the role most recently camped up by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever. I hope we'll be seeing him again...

Michael Caine, when asked to comment on the possibility of an Oscar nod to Ledger in next year's awards is reported as saying that if there's a better performance than this in a movie this year, he'd pay money to see it.

I concur.

I bet my nephew does as well...

Comments

PJ said…
Great review. Heath Ledger was incredible as the Joker, and the rest of the cast gave quality performances. I was rather overwhelmed when I saw it last Friday at the imax, so I'll probably try to see it again at a normal cinema.
Thank you kindly, ma'am.

I'll probably see it a time or two more myself...
Brian said…
I agree about Aaron Eckhart. He really gave us a reason to both understand Two-Face, and to fear him. Jones just took the character and treated him as a Joker wannabe. Eckhart turned him into something richer than we even see in the comic books (except maybe Tim Sales' "Batman: Dark Victory").
Brian - thanks. I've always enjoyed the Loeb/Sale stories, and they captured Harvey perfectly as a man divided by both the struggle of his moral crusade and his subsequent disfigurement by the people he was sworn to bring down.

For me, Harvey Dent has always been a tortured character, and I think Aaron Eckhart did him (you'll excuse the pun) justice...
Therin of Andor said…
Great review - I agree with every word. Heath Ledger's work is always so very watchable: especially "Brokeback Mountain", "Ned Kelly" and now (finally) "The Dark Knight". In his inverviews he always came across as a humble, Ocker mumbler, almost a stereotype of the young Aussie boofhead male, but his onscreen characters always have such depth.