Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Dark Knight
I've always been a fan of the Caped Crusader, listing him just behind Spiderman as my superhero of choice. But I've never really enjoyed the movies, even the good ones, because they were so dark.
Batman is of course a creature of the night, forged in the shadow of his parents murder and very much at home in the seedy underbelly of his hometown. I get that. And I know the movies are 'seen' through the worldview of Bruce Wayne. You're not going to see rainbows and butterflies in his world.
But, watching the films I've always felt Gotham was hopeless, a corrupt and violent town without a future and not much of a present. Like I said as the DVD was loading "Who'd ever want to live there?"
I finished the movie wonderfully surprised. This wasn't a movie about death and mayhem, it was a movie about Redemption, of a city and its people rising from decay and reaching for the sun. Yes, yes, there are dozens of scenes of violence and horror, and Gotham isn't quite ready for a 'Best of . . ' list.
But throughout the film the city is filmed in daylight, with color, with pride. A police commissioner is murdered, threats are made, and yet the city turns out to honor their dead and look evil in the eye. Setbacks are made and but the city moves forward, slowly but forcibly, towards their goal of peace and integrity. Batman senses this change and vocalizes it at times, but even if he didn't it's readily apparent in his actions. He is not the Savior of his city, he is its band-aid. It is not him who saves hundreds in the end - no, it is the citizens of Gotham themselves.
You can almost - almost - picture wanting to visit the city.
As for Heath Ledger, my word what a performance. I felt he came into his own during his interrogation by Batman, and from that point on the role was his. His hospital scenes . . wow.
Long live Batman, and long live Gotham.