“The (K)night Is Darkest Before Dawn.”
A good friend of mine watched “The Dark Knight” yesterday and sent me and another friend an email about how he didn’t really like it and couldn’t understand the hype and raving reviews. I just sent off my reply and felt like sharing it with more than just the two people to whom the email was addressed.
By the way, we all write each other such mails nearly on a daily basis, of course always about different films, music, or topics; and most certainly not always this long. Come to think of it, we should consider publishing those on the regular. That shit is priceless. (Hey, if you’re reading this, let me know what you think of that.)
So here goes, completely unabridged, unedited, and with unchanged orthography—email style!
(NB: The views and opinions laid out in the following paragraphs are entirely my own. Fuck you if you don’t like ‘em. I can only quote the Joker: “Why so serious?” But kudos if you disagree and speak up. Let’s talk it out.)
well, since you asked… (warning, longish ramblings to follow. i couldn’t stop myself.)
for one, i never really liked christian bale. can’t really say why, though. maybe because he always plays these really weird characters (american psycho, machinist, equilibrium, batman, etc). or maybe it’s because the dude is from wales. no idea. his recent outburst on that movie set didn’t exactly highten my view of him either. the guy has come off as a full-blown arrogant prick for a while now. but whatever… (i, too, was really bothered by his deep voice in “TDK.” wtf?!)
for another, i have never seen a batman film. TDK was my first and will also be my last. i’m not into those comic-book-superhero-vs-supervillain movie adaptations AT ALL (except for the proper ones like “Sin City;” mind you, i don’t have anything against comic books, just movies that are based on them).
i only watched it because of Heath. i had seen the trailer and was immediately blown away by his performance. the man had recently died, which was the first time i had ever heard of the film and probably the only reason why i watched the trailer in the first place. to be perfectly honest, i probably would have never seen the flick if Heath hadn’t died, even if i had heard the same arguments about his “stellar performance” that have been floating around ever since. basically, i was a gawker who wanted to see the film that ultimately killed a man. fortunately, i had seen the trailer before and knew that i was in for a treat (from an actor, not a movie).
with all of that being said, i don’t particulary like the movie as a whole (now that i’m giving it some thought, which i hadn’t bothered to do before). apart from being a comic adaptation, it’s one of those blockbuster-(action)-sequel-flicks (number six or seven in a franchise) that serve no other purpose than the commercial one. i simply despise those movies out of principle. it’s narrow-minded, i know. but fuck you, that’s how i roll. (o; it’s just my way of making a selection in this vast jungle that is the movie industry. james bond, harry potter, matrix, or lord of the rings are just a few examples of movie series that i wouldn’t piss on even if they were on fire.
sure, there were some great scenes in TDK that didn’t have the Joker in them; the camera work was pretty solid throughout; and i even liked the idea of the hero being pushed so far that he’s on the verge of becoming a villain himself. but overall, the story was lame, the film was too long, and there were too many different storylines, iirc.
that whole cliché-moral-dilemma scene (the one with the ships in the harbor; convicts on one, law-abiding citizens on the other; on both ships there’s a detonator to blow up the other one) was just plain bad. the love triangle between chris bale, aaron eckhart, and maggie gyllenhaal?? bitch, please! and why did such fine actors as aaron and maggie “sell out” to such a film? i still remember how i literally yelled at my tv (“what the fuck?! oh come ooonn! jeeesuusss!”) when the half-faced (or two-faced) aaron eckhart just stepped out of his hospital bed and went apeshit on everybody. btw, it was only now (after having typed the word “two-faced”) that i realized he was supposed to be the same character that tommy lee jones played in an earlier film. that tells you a lot about my knowledge of batman.
and to be even more honest, i have no clue why everybody is praising Heath to high heavens now that he’s dead. don’t get me wrong, i’ll be the first to admit that he delivered an astonishing, once-in-a-lifetime performance as the Joker. one that i will surely remember for the rest of my life. but why everyone suddenly considers him the finest actor of his generation, i will never understand. sure, i knew him, saw some of his films, and was even downright shocked when i caught the news of his death. but he was never on my radar of people that i was going to keep an eye on (not that i have any authority on seeing and acknowleding every acting talent that crosses my path, but still…). and there’s a reason.
because, let’s face it, he was in a bunch of shit movies playing shit characters. maybe he acted well, but certainly not so well that i’d put him at the top of his entire generation of actors (although i could very well be just an ignant motherfucker). almost everything (with maybe the exceptions of The Four Feathers and Monster’s Ball) that he did before Brokeback Mountain was crap. certainly the movies themselves were. and since then, he had only been in a handful of other films. but all of a higher quality than the stuff before “the gay one.” so, even if it sounds rude, he just got a huge bag of pity (germanism alarm!) handed to him by the yellow press. they just love stories like his. “young actor (accidentally?) kills himself while at the top of his game professionally. leaves ex-fiancée and child behind.” on a humane level, it’s undoubtedly a cruel story. but don’t make him a saint “just” because he did extremely well during his last job and died afterwards. it reveals more about the people who are spreading these stories than about the man himself.
nevertheless, due to his sudden death at such a young age and his mind-blowing Joker (which will always be his legacy), he’ll forever be the James Dean of our generation. i have no doubts about that. whether that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen/discussed.
in short, TDK is mediocre at best when it comes to “cineastic” quality. (it would be very interesting to debate whether “cineastic quality” was one of the Nolan brothers’ intentions.) but it is quite entertaining, i have to admit. probably due to its fast pace. the 150 or so minutes just flew by. Heath, on the other hand, is amazing in it and had far too little screen time. i remember thinking “when’s the joker gonna have another scene?” when i watched it in september or so. i’d gladly re-watch the film just to witness that unique on-screen aura again.
alright. nuff said. sorry for the ramified commentary.
(believe it or not, i just wasted 90 minutes of my life for that. what is wrong with me?)
Let’s hear it, folks. Tear me a new one. I’d love to indulge in this topic.