13 de agosto de 2008
Review by Danny del Mazo
Let’s get down to it, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is nothing short of a MASTERWORK, a lightning strike, a modern classic, a new treasure in the deep and often bleak caves of modern cinema. I can only begin my review of this film by paraphrasing the opening line of many of the nation’s top critics: “How can you describe something that is just so damn good?” I have to agree with that sentiment. I sat in the theatre at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and saw the very first showing at 12:01 AM Thursday night, a day before the film’s release, and I was literally blown away. I walked out into the streets that night and was amazed at the amount of people, many of them dressed in Batman attire and faces painted as an homage to the great Clown himself, all excited to see this film. Every beat of this movie is EPIC, every performance a tour de force, most notable of which is the definitive version of The Joker.
Batman has always been one of my favorite literary characters. In his vast history, three of my all-time favorite Batman stories, which incidentally happen to be three of my favorite graphic novels, are Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, the last of which is a graphic novel dedicated to one of the greatest antagonists ever created, The Joker. I love the Batman mythology, and I believe that what makes it so unique is the volume of interesting and intricate characters within the realm of Gotham City. Each of them as quirky and obsessed as Batman himself is and exemplify what Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud described as the archetypal figures and shades of the human psyche. As the Joker himself says in the movie, “What doesn’t Kill you, only makes you Stranger.”It would be an injustice to reveal plot points within this review. Thus, rather than discuss the story, I’ll simply point out what the top critics have said about the film:
“The Dark Knight is a film steeped in tragedy, sacrifice, and heroism, and the eternal struggle at its core gives it a resonance that makes it one for the ages.”
“The Dark Knight is both a brilliantly nihilistic, incredibly dark and richly layered film going experience, and a painful reminder of what the film world lost with the senseless death of Heath Ledger.
“Nolan has painted a richly vivid landscape of death and iniquity. The view is breathtaking.”
“Impeccably acted, morally complex and crafted with across-the-board technical virtuosity...emerges fully formed as an American crime-movie classic.”
“You heard it here first: the late Heath Ledger will win an Academy Award for his defining, spine-tingling performance as The Joker.”
“It's one of this year's most haunting cinematic experiences.”
“Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Michael Mann's Heat. Brian de Palma's The Untouchables. And now, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight can join the list of one of the most absorbing and intense crime dramas in modern movie milestones.”
“Nolan's sequel surpasses the original with an intense, disturbing masterpiece.”
“Dark, grim, haunting and inventive, Dark Knight is nothing short of brilliant, representing Chris Nolan's most accomplished and mature work to date”
“The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination.”
“An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity”
“A dark, ambitious, mature and gritty crime saga the likes of which Michael Mann or Martin Scorsese would be proud to call their own.”
“Analyzing the successes of such a blistering, genre-defining masterwork is tantamount to judging the contours of Michelangelo's David or evaluating the shading and form of Da Vinci's The Last Supper.”
“a phenomenal masterpiece”
“I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see The Dark Knight in the IMAX format, DO! It's impressive beyond imagination.”
I’d like to dedicate this review to an artist whose life and work I greatly admire. Heath Ledger left an indelible impression on me upon seeing him in this film. I had always been a fan of his work, but when I heard he was chosen as the next actor to interpret the Joker, I was immediately convinced that an actor of his dedication and caliber was up to the task and knew we were in for a treat. The Joker is, after all, a very difficult part to nail. He was inspired by the silent movie character from German Expressionist Cinema “The Man Who Laughs”. The Joker is scarred with a smile on his face, masking the deep horror that dwells within. A part like this seemed at first-thought out of touch with Ledger’s sensibilities. But just as Michael Keaton, a major controversial choice for the role of Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, was astonishingly convincing in the part, often times those who are cast against type turn out to be the better choice. Tim Burton knew that Michael Keaton had the kind of manic-depressive insanity needed for the Bat-Man, and it would make sense that he would need to dress himself up as a Bat and create this nightmarish persona for himself, given that Michael Keaton is a short, average-looking individual. By that extension, Nolan was well aware of Heath Ledger’s talents and knew that he had the sense of loneliness and an outsider’s sensibility to portray the drive of a psychotic, misfit like The Joker. It’s saddening that this was his last, completed role before his tragic death in early 2008; but as many have already declared, there was no better way for him to go out. As I begin my career as I filmmaker, it’s hard to fathom the idea that I’ll never have the opportunity to work with Heath. He will, nevertheless, remain one of my greatest inspirations, not just for bringing one of my favorite comic book characters to life in such a phenomenal way, but for the integrity and seriousness with which he approached his work. He was not a guy hung-up on himself or his looks, but someone who cared about bringing all of himself to his work as an artist and doing something unique each time out of the gate. He WILL win an Academy Award for this role, one that has already received cult status and has quickly become one of the great performances of cinema.
Danny del Mazo
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