The Dark Knight
Release year: 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriter: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Starring: Christan Bale, Heath ledger, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Chin Han
Ratings: 2 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger), Best Sound Editing. 6 Oscar nominations: Best cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects. 1 Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger). 3 Empire Awards: Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Director, Best Film.
With a new villain calling himself The Joker (Heath Ledger) creating chaos in Gotham, Batman (Christian Bale) suits up to protect his city with the unexpected help from decent District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). But while The Joker may look crazy he is also something of a mastermind and the caped crusader must gather help from all his friends in order to outsmart the menace threatening to ruin Gotham.
Continuing his Batman saga, Nolan (Interstellar, 2014) has brought back the stellar cast from Batman Begins (2005) (except Katie Holmes who is replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel) to set Batman up against another archenemy: the chaos loving The Joker played by Heath Ledger, who gives an outstanding and award winning performance. With a tighter script and a more tense story moving forward with full speed right from the beginning, The Dark Knight manages to outdo its predecessor, proving that sometimes a sequel can be both bigger and better. If Bale (American Hustle, 2013) managed to merge with the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins he now completely takes over the character and kicks everybody’s ass! Seeing what Bale manages when returning to an already known character makes you wish he would revisit characters more often. This time up against an enemy who is an intellectual match, our hero is pushed to his very limits where his actions are questioned both by those around him as well as by us as audience, but Bale has a way of keeping his character’s integrity throughout and will keep you rooting for him through it all. Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, 2005) in the meantime delivers such an eerie and intense perfomance as the psychotic clown prince of crime that it is virtually impossible to regonize the good looking heart-throb beneath the makeup. The role that had Ledge dive deep into the psychology of the character is only enhanced by the tragic and far too early death of one our most promising actors, that led to all the deserved awards for the performance being given posthumously. Instead of being a step foreward in a wonderful career, Ledger’s The Joker will forever stand as an example of what we lost because of his untimely death. Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992) is wisely given more screentime with his wonderful take on Gordon, his relationship with Batman strenghtening and Caine (Now You See Me, 2013) and Freeman (Se7en, 1995) continue doing a great job as the rocks supporting Batman on the homefront, Eckhart (Olympus Has Fallen, 2013) and Gyllenhaal (White House Down, 2013) certainly holds their ground as newcomers to the franchise, and the Batmobil manages to improve it’s coolness but everything pales in comparison to the battle between Batman and The Joker. Whether you are a fan of superhero movies or just enjoy a good intense action movie, this is unmisable.
When Heath Ledger won the Best Actor Award (posthumously) for his role as The Joker, he made The Dark Knight the first movie based on a comic book to ever win an Oscar for achievement in acting.
Picture copyright: SF Films