From DC Comics, Legendary Pictures and Christopher Nolan came 2008’s The Dark Knight. It was a follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins, also with Nolan directing. The film stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eric Roberts and more.
First of all, this movie was worth seeing if only for the phenomenal cast. Luckily, Nolan delivered a gem even more spectacular than Batman Begins. Secondly, we must remember that this is a Christopher Nolan film.
Although this movie came out over two years ago, I decided to review it after getting the chance to view it for a second (or perhaps third) time. Despite a PG-13 rating, (and no matter how quick-witted you may be,) it is impossible to catch everything going on, let alone all the dialogue, on the first go-round.
The dialogue (and subtle one-liners) are perhaps the most brilliant part of this film; even more so than the special effects. You can tell this is a Nolan film, because no matter how excellent and perhaps obvious a statement may seem, Nolan switches to the next scene without giving viewers even a second to let anything digest or register. (For example, one might hold more interest in some of the action scenes if they knew how real things like Sonar and Skyhook are in our nation’s secret service.)
Most of all, this film was more than just a comic. It dealt deeply with themes of anarchy, authority, money, greed, power, and most of all, chaos. Through the Joker’s dialogue we start to examine how perhaps him and Batman aren’t that different… Nolan makes us want to know more about the Joker’s past, and why he chooses destruction above all…even over money.
Although the Joker is essentially a schizophrenic psychopath, Nolan laid out his psychological profile for those viewers who could understand. The real terror in the film wasn’t the Joker himself, but the idea that one violently crazed man could turn an entire city upside down. Of course in the end, specifically in the “ferry scene,” we see that good still beats out evil amongst Gotham’s people, making us realize that the Joker’s mindset was individual to him only. Moreover, we see how perhaps evil is not born in all humans, but rather it is created.
Heath Ledger unfortunately died before the film was even released, but he deserves immense credit for the role he took on as the Joker. I truly disbelieve that any modern-day actor would be able to come close to filling his shoes.
“Criminals in this town used to believe in honor, respect… What do you believe in?”
“I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger…”
“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. Some men can’t be bought, borrowed, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
“When the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. I’m not a monster; I’m just ahead of the curve.”
“The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.”
“In their last moments, people show you who they really are.”
“I show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”
“If tomorrow I tell the press that a gang-banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics because its all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old man will die, then everyone loses their minds. Introduce anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos.”
“Madness is like gravity…all it takes is a little push.”
“The only morality in a cruel world is chance- unbiased, unprejudiced, fair.”