Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dark Knight

My review of The Dark Knight appears in today's WestEnder. Pick up a copy of WE today if you get a chance!

The Dark Knight

By Andrea Warner

4 stars

From the stomach-dropping opening sequence to the carefully orchestrated explosions to the twisted grimace of a scar slashed into a much mourned face, The Dark Knight tries to throw off the black veil of its troubled origins and becomes what it was meant to be: a kick ass summer blockbuster. It can’t quite escape the long shadow of Heath Ledger’s death, but it works overtime to make sure the audience gets plenty of bang for their buck.

Christian Bale returns as Batman (and Bruce Wayne), whose newest foe is his most formidable: the sick, psychotic Joker (the late Heath Ledger), whose sole motivation is to knock society’s saviours off their paper-thin pedestals. Aaron Ekhart’s Harvey Dent is the new District Attorney and he and Batman quickly become just the twin towers the Joker needs to topple to prove his point. Relationship drama comes courtesy of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Rachel Dawes, Batman/Bruce Wayne’s long-standing love and Dent’s girlfriend.

Ekhart’s chiseled jaw and full head of shiny blond hair speak volumes about the kind of hero he seems destined to become. Gyllenhaal has precious little to do here, but her few lines permit her trademark playful intelligence to shine through. And, the neatly layered yet frenetic action sequences show plenty of cool tricks. (Want to know to flip a semi? Learn here!)

That The Dark Knight ultimately becomes Ledger’s movie is a fitting tribute. Ledger immerses himself inside the Joker, perfecting a gait, voice, and nuanced ticks and twitches to complement the creepy laugh and moments of impossible humour that make the Joker so deliciously, frighteningly evil. It’s a character study so complete, even the dark knight himself knows he’s second fiddle.

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