Posts Tagged ‘greatest villain’

Welcome To A World Without Rules: ‘The Dark Knight’ – ***** (out of 5); A+

July 22, 2008
A World Without Rules

A World Without Rules

Amid the fanfare and tragic recollections of a phenomenal talent cut down in his prime, brewed something very real, very potent, and very daring: The Dark Knight, a film bustling with such bravura, brains and brawns, that it bowled over this reviewer’s sky-high expectations and trod fearlessly on sacred ground only the greatest dared glimpse at. Not one for making such declarations easily, but The Dark Knight is the best superhero film of the last 30 years, the best sequel since The Empire Strikes Back, the most rousing and intelligent mainstream entertainment since Spielberg’s Minority Report and Peter Jackson’s LOTR: FOTR, and easily the best film of 2008 thus far (I’d love to see any in the next 5 1/2 months try to compete).

It’s a dense tapestry of images and ideas, weaved into a sumptuous whole that is a feast for the senses and food for thought. Shakespearean in its grandeur and fatally flawed characters, Greek in its fatalistic sense of tragedy, I never could have dared to believe that a summer blockbuster could strive to such heady heights.

I shall not – MUST not – give away spoilers, except to say that I laughed; I cried; I gripped my armrest till I lost sensation in my fingertips, and for 2 1/2 hours I never once sat back in my chair relaxed. Christopher Nolan did the unthinkable with this film – the celebrated indie director who topped both of his low-budget wonders with a spectacular big-budget extravaganza.

The Batman universe is a well-established one, with some inalienable truths about the outcomes of certain key characters. Yet – major kudos to Nolan – you forget this right from the get-go, as a deathly pall settles over everyone, and you realize that no one in Gotham City is safe. Outcomes will shock and surprise you – even if you’ve deduced them, the ingenuity in which they are orchestrated is bound to catch you off-guard.

And of course I cannot leave without mentioning Heath Ledger, a wonderfully talented thespian who died tragically at the high-water mark of his fledgling career. I had not historically been a fan of Ledger, until I watched Brokeback Mountain – a film I found risible, silly, overblown and hollow. But Ledger was so standout phenomenal there that I found myself visibly moved by the end – especially with his poignant, vibrant scene at the end. So when I heard he was cast as The Joker, the confusion lasted all of 3 secs; this was the man for the job, and he certainly had the chops to pull it off handsomely.

But in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have pictured Ledger’s Joker – dark, anarchic, wickedly funny yet terrifying at the same time. In fact I would go as far as to say that his Joker – wild, dangerous, unpredictable and riveting – is the most frightening villain I can recall ever seeing onscreen, and he strikes an unquenchable terror that cuts through the heart of The Dark Knight and propels it from fiction to infamy and legend. What a fitting tribute to this fantastic talent, and what a monumental loss. God bless and God rest Heath Ledger; long live The Dark Knight.