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the dark knight

i am going to call ‘the dark knight’ probably one of the best films i will watch all year. considering that i hardly feel the compulsion to see the inside of a theatre, this claim may or may not be accurate.

the film follows in the tradition of the over-hyped, box-office record smashing superhero blockbuster. but dismissing ‘the dark knight’ as another ‘hero kills villain to save the day and get the girl’ flick will not do, for this rendition is not simply one of black against white. rather it explores all the grey spaces between those two extremes. this movie is by no means an excursion into the intricacies of the human psyche, but the psychologically-charged script is certainly a refreshing deviation from the mindless bang-about that has come to characterise the genre.

on the technical end of things, ‘the dark knight’ is a masterclass in hollywood excellence (yes, the irony). one can expect the usual gloss that is hollywood cinema – the action sequences beautifully choreographed, the sets darkly atmospheric and the editing top-notch. with the kind of money poured into making this film, it would seem an awful waste if this aspect turned out otherwise.

still, a movie is dead without its actors – the cast so star-studded that even edison chen got a cameo as a receptionist (amazing that they would let him near computers and technology in light of the recent scandal). of special mention is of course, heath ledger, breathing new life into a character that has long since lost its novelty. i was struck by how much restrain he gave the joker, for it would be easy to prance about in stark lunacy. this version of the joker appears to tip-toe the highwire between sanity and madness, occasionally doing a flip with a flourish, flicking his tongue with lick of his blood-stained teeth. in short, madness with a mission. look for ‘best supporting actor’ to be awarded posthumously this year.

it is precisely this ambiguity that lends intellectual weight to the film. vigilante justice is not rooted in black and white; and man, even the very best of us, stands at the edge and ‘a little push’ is all that is required. even the title reveals this. just who is the dark knight? can evil and chaos stand beside honour, valour and love? yes it can. it is also called the human condition.

for more of my thoughts, click here.

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