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Phil Mercer

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dark Knight (Cert 12a)


We've been waiting for this one for a little while. Yes it is another super hero movie. But it is Batman and does have a great pedigree, so there is no need to get bored with them just yet.

Christopher Nolan is back in the directors chair after a successful reinvention of the Batman franchise last time out. Also back are the main cast, Christian Bale as the broody one, Michael Caine as Alfred his butler. The police officer, Lieutenant Gordon ( Gary Oldman) and his old friend Lucius Fox ( Morgan Freeman) are also back.

Bare with me, as its a complicated one this time: We pick up the plot not long after the last film. Bruce Waynes mansion is still under construction, so he is living in his penthouse in the heart of Gotham city and the batcave is hidden under containers in the docks.

First up, a bank raid, which we soon find out is the cunning plan of the Joker (Heath Ledger) but its not an ordinary high street type of bank, this one is under the control of a local Mafia.

This leads to a meeting of two gangs who are intent on killing each other... and to our surprise it seems that everyone is trying to look like Batman. It's not long before the hooded wonder shows up and soon has the bad guys on the run, or as in our old foe, the Scarecrow, tied up.

But what are the gangs to do about all this money, and where to bank it? A Chinese mob accountant decides its safest in Hong Kong and he does a runner with it.

The Joker offers to find a solution to all the bad guys woes, deal with Batman and life would get back to normal.

The new D.A. a perfect looking Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckart) is proving to be the Hero Gotham needs. Someone who doesn't hide in the shadows like a vigilante! So will he and Batman be able to handle the chaos created by the Joker and will the beautiful Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) chose the perfect DA or the broody Bruce Wayne?

Christopher Nolan has once again crafted a great movie. Its suitably dark for Batman, with little sign of hope throughout, and when a glimmer appears, its soon snuffed out.

The gadgets are still great (Morgan Freeman is almost Q!), the suit sexy, and the bad guys scary. Heath Ledger is great as the nuts Joker, but also when Two Face appears we really are left with a horror to behold. There is so much detail in his effects that I wonder if its a step too far!

I wondered if all the praise going around for Ledger at the Premier the other day was just being polite after his passing away earlier this year, but he really does create an amazing (and horrible) character. Proving it to be a real shame that we wont be seeing any more (with one exception) of his talents.

There were some nice touches, Michael Caines witty remarks. The great use of soundtrack, especially when the Joker is on screen. Even the slightly drained of colour cinematography.

Did you know:
Some scene were filmed using an IMAX camera, so it would be popping to your local one to see if the bangs are even bigger still!
All of the studio work was carried out at Pinewood, but the majority of external shots are in Chicago.
Can you spot Battersea Power station in the background at one point.

Only real flaw is its length... 152 minutes... it feels just a little bit long.


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