If Heath Ledger were not already dead, we’d have surely killed him with our bare hands for being careless with the prescription drugs that took the life of this amazing actor prematurely in January.
To watch Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight is to rejoice in a performer who had reached the ne plu ultra, the summit of his short film career.
Heath Ledger was just Vanilla good in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, the story of two gay young cowboys that won Lee an Oscar and Ledger a deserved nomination for Best Actor. But in The Dark Knight, Ledger is bloody good, literally and figuratively.
With a hideously disfigured white face, a red slit of a mouth and a knife in his hand, Ledger is a gorgeous blood-dripping sundae, lipsmackingly good.
Ledger cuts a more terrifying figure than Jack Nicholson after his fall in that vat of green chemicals in Batman (1989).
Sadly, The Dark Knight movie itself doesn’t live up to the hype and heightened expectation.
All the razzmatazz and special effects in Dark Knight cannot mask the absence of a strong, gripping story. The futuristic cars or the snazzy motorbike (in the case of Dark Knight), the jumps from towering buildings, the quiet flapping of the bat’s wings are no substitutes for an interesting, novel storyline. If you have watched Batman Begins, then it’s hard to shake off the deja vu feeling that creep by in Dark Knight, filmed mostly in low-light or semidarkness.
The violence sometimes seems gratuitous and senseless, even if it’s perpetrated by an unhinged character and the fast chases soon induce ennui.
Director Christopher Nolan (who also directed Batman Begins) needs a long holiday away from the bats.
It’s only Heath Ledger’s jaw-dropping performance as the Joker that salvages the movie that reportedly cost $180 million. All else is been there, seen that.
In one of the memorable sentences and scenes from The Dark Knight, the Joker cruelly tells his fellow travelers in crime as they watch him burn a huge pile of money – All you care about is money. This town deserves a better class of criminals.
To Bollywood and Kollywood aficionados sick of the shreiking and screaming that passes for acting in Hindi and Tamil movies, watching Heath Ledger is a revelation. The Kamal Haasans and Amitab Bachchans are but pygmies in the face of such talent.
For Batman fans, the terrain of Dark Knight will be familiar.
Gotham City is still synonymous with crime and overrun by criminals. And the nest of vipers still rules although Batman has reined in the darker impulses of some of the savage classes. And so the urban detritus, stark in Batman Begins, is mostly invisible.
The usual suspects are back in Dark Knight.
Christian Bale is Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy by day and Batman by night. Michael Caine is the butler Alfred Pennyworth, Morgan Freeman plays the scientist Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman returns as the police lieutenant James Gordon. All the major characters except our Katie Holmes, who played Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is the new Rachel Dawes in Dark Knight, lacks the intensity that Holmes brought to Batman Begins.
As the heat turns on the criminal class, the mobsters turn to the Joker little realizing what they are in for. For the Joker, unlike all other criminals, is a completely deranged, fiendish, perfidious monster before whom all other monsters are saints.
The Joker has no rules and as Alfred once tells his master: Some men just like to watch the world burn.
Three scenes stand out in Dark Knight for the sheer intensity – the Joker’s interrogation in the cell by Batman, the Joker surveying the destruction of the hospital and the final confrontation between Batman and the Joker. Each of the scenes show Ledger at his best – callously cruel, diabolically cruel and viciously cruel.
To miss the Dark Knight is to miss one of the finest performances by a rara avis of Hollywood in recent years.
R.I.P Heath Ledger.
Elton John’s funeral oration for Diana seems more apt for Heath Ledger:
Your candle’s burned out long before
Your legend ever will.
Getting goosebumps and tears.. reading about Ledger. Damn!
Have you watched Maggie’s other movies.. she’s a better actress than Katie.
Nolan’s Memento was great.. Unlike many people I was hugely disappointed (too many loose ends, I thought) with Ghajini.. probably because I tried to compare it with Memento.
Poor Bale, people barely mention him!
1. Maggie’s other films? Not sure in which movie we have seen her earlier (having a hard time keeping our eyes open now since we went for the 12:01 AM show of Dark Knight).
2. You write above: Poor Bale, people barely mention him!
Bale was OK although we thought he was better in Batman Begins. But Dark Knight is the Joker’s film.
12:01 AM show? I didn’t know such a thing existed. I thought you saw some preview show.
Maggie had Golden Globe nominated performances in Sherrybaby and Secretary. She probably got a Trisha-in-a-vijay-movie kinda role here..(not sure why she accepted). She usually is the focal point of her movies.
1. Dark Knight is the second midnight show we watched recently (Indiana Jones was the first) but the crowd was much, much bigger at the multiplex for Dark Knight.
Going by the audience response in the movie hall, Heath Ledger struck a chord with the folks in many scenes but the Dark Knight movie itself may not have left them very impressed. Of course, it’s more difficult to gauge response of Americans than the reaction of our boisterous desis to a movie.
2. Added Sherrybaby to our Netflix queue.
3. You write above: She probably got a Trisha-in-a-vijay-movie kinda role here
Trisha in any kind of role is a horror. That lazy bimbo just can’t act. She ranks right there with the Bermuda Triangle in our list of life’s great mysteries – how does this thing survive in the Tamil movie business?
Good review..Cant wait to watch it in Market fair, Regal or Lowes today. Best way to beat this heat wave on a friday afternoon.
It looks like the heat wave in the NY/NJ area won’t let up until Monday.
If Heath Ledger were not already dead, weâ€™d have surely killed him with our bare hands for being careless with the prescription drugs,,,
I could be a butcher to kill this ledger, if he hasn’t go for an acting lesson from Kamal Hasan 😉
What planet do you come from?
Kamal Haasan is a Podi Paya (little kid) compared to the likes of Heath Ledger.
In my opinion Vqtor needs a mental asylum.
Seen the movie and Ledger’s performance is simply jaw-dropping. It’s a pity that he isn’t around anymore, a guy of this talent surely deserved to live more. Why does God take away the nice actors and leave us with noobies like Abhishek,John,Ritesh… ahhh! The list is endless. Coming back to the performance it was simply superb. I would surely rate it higher than Nicholson’s 1989 attempt in Batman. There was never a single frame that he lost the grip and the devilish look of the baddie. Surely an Oscar winning performance.
The story was good and some great stunts as well. Bale was also fine but was surely a second act to that of Ledger’s. There were some moments in the film which were brilliantly executed like the one in the party with Joker landing up,etc…
Truly worth our money and way better than the KK crap on offering..
BTW did u see Persepolis? I am still waiting for the review plzzzzz….
We completely agree with your thoughts on Heath Ledger & Dark Knight. We’ll be watching Persepolis this Saturday and hope to have the review by Monday.
“leave us with noobies like Abhishek, John, Ritesh”.. Heath was born in 1979.. much younger than at least John and Abhishek… and a bit younger than Ritesh.
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999 – but beaten to death on cable TV) is still fresh in my mind.. he played a rebel teen in that.. not a great movie, but watchable.
Wondering if he would have got the same rave reviews for this movie or his future movies, if he hadn’t died.. May even get a posthumous oscar.. from what I hear should deserve the “Best Actor” rather than “Best Supporting Actor”? planning to watch in IMAX (did you guys watch in IMAX?).. supposedly better there..
1. When it comes to acting, we guess age has little to do with things. Heather Ledger is an excellent actor. Period. We have seen a lot (if not most) of Kamal Haasan & Amitabh Bachchan movies. Heath Ledger is not only way ahead of Kamal Haasan & Amitabh Bachchan but also ahead of the likes of SRK, Hrithik, Aamir, Dharmendra et al. As for Abhishek, if this fella did not have his last name he’d probably have a hard time being a gofer (American slang for errand boy) on a movie set.
2. Heath deserves the Oscar..but who knows. Last year, we thought Sweeney Todd and Johnny Depp would win but it failed to.
3. We watched Dark Knight in a DLP theatre (Digital Light Processing technology from Texas Instruments)
I went and saw The Dark Knight for the simple fact of seeing Heath Ledger perform for the last time. It was a bittersweet moment for me. Bitter, because we’ve lost such an amazing actor. And sweet due to his electrifying performance. He absolutely terrified me as the Joker. Finally, this is what it feels like to watch a first class performance. I think I’ll go watch it again.
You write above: Finally, this is what it feels like to watch a first class performance. I think I’ll go watch it again.
We’re planning on doing the same.
You are one goddamn [trash talk] reviewer should be thrown in dustbin along with the rubbish that you call movie review.
The Dark knight is the best movie in recent years. And you are misguiding people telling that it does not live up to the hype. It well surpasses all kinds of hype and expectations. If you fool don’t believe that go to http://www.rottentomatoes.com and http://www.imdb.com and see for yourself. You have a habbit of telling a carappy movie a good one and vice versa. So [trash talk] right now..
You filhy, rabid mongrel. You have every right to disagree with us (as some of our readers do). But you have no God-given right to use filth against us or abuse us. Comprende.
The review of Dark Knight or any other movie on the SearchIndia.com blog is our perspective. Some agree with us, some don’t. And that’s fine with us as long as we are treated with respect.
Sure, if you see one movie a year or if Dark Knight is the sole Batman movie you’ve seen in your life, it’ll appear sui generis.
But for the Joker (Heath Ledger), Dark Knight would have turned into a joke.
Stop pretending to a pandit
It would help if you post your comments when you are sober.
“Sadly, The Dark Knight movie itself doesnâ€™t live up to the hype and heightened expectation.”
If this movie didn’t live up to the expectations after all the marketing, I honestly don’t know any other movie that live up to its hype. 9.2 rating on imdb, bettered godfather, 94% on rottentomatoes..hello, you cannot just go out and write something just to be unique, there are numbers to prove you wrong.
I doubt that you’ve seen any other movies of Nolan or for that matter enough movies to start reviewing. With all due respect, you should probably stop reviewing movies (respect is what you care for)
“All the major characters except our Katie Olsen” – Get the name right please.
1. You write above: I doubt that you’ve seen any other movies of Nolan or for that matter enough movies to start reviewing
Stop assuming things about which you know nothing.
2. You write: With all due respect, you should probably stop reviewing movies
We don’t remember asking for your advice.
3. You quote us: “All the major characters except our Katie Olsen” – Get the name right please.
Mea culpa. Fixed now.
4. You write: If this movie didn’t live up to the expectations after all the marketing, I honestly don’t know any other movie that live up to its hype.
Having seen Nolan’s previous Batman flick Batman Begins, we felt the ‘Joker’ was the only unique element (and a very unique element, we might add) of The Dark Knight.
5. You write: 9.2 rating on imdb, bettered godfather, 94% on rottentomatoes..hello, you cannot just go out and write something just to be unique, there are numbers to prove you wrong
Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB are not the guiding lights by which we write our reviews. But since you raise the point, we must tell you that there are other respected publications (besides us) that were not as mesmerized as you were with the Dark Knight.
I completely agree with barneystinson… You are the man!
You are entitled to your delusions.
There are always some miserable brats who always try to ruin special occasions for the sake of being so called different than others. You are criticizing TDK for the same reason. You did not mention why you did not liked TDK specifically. Because you can not show anything in favour of you. Those who didn’t like TDK either do not have the brain or did not get it right. And those few sons of … in the world who ignore the sheer talent of TDK are absolute fool like YOU! wHy sO eErIOuS!!
You write above: Those who didn’t like TDK either do not have the brain or did not get it right. And those few sons of … in the world
You M*&^%$F*&^%r…Politeness does not seem to work with you. Next time, use civil language.
We have told you that you have every right to disagree with our reviews, but keep the trash talk to yourself.
Dark Knight was great for Heath Ledger’s non pareil performance.
You write above: You did not mention why you did not liked TDK specifically. Because you can not show anything in favour of you.
Are you a complete idiot? This is what we wrote in the review:
All the razzmatazz and special effects in Dark Knight cannot mask the absence of a strong, gripping story. The futuristic cars or the snazzy motorbike (in the case of Dark Knight), the jumps from towering buildings, the quiet flapping of the batâ€™s wings are no substitutes for an interesting, novel storyline. If you have watched Batman Begins, then itâ€™s hard to shake off the deja vu feeling that creep by in Dark Knight, filmed mostly in low-light or semidarkness.
Learn to read, you schmuck.
Having said that, Dark Knight was a million times better than your average Bollywood or Kollywod movie.
Why is that every time you review some Hollywood movie,you just can’t resist attacking ‘the Bollywood or the Tamil style of movie making’ for the sake of comparison. This is supposed to be your usual style of reviewing a foreign language movie( English included),is it? Though it may seem despicable to some Bollywood fans , I like it somewhat. It reveals openly some unpleasant truth about our cinema,the truth we hate to believe.
You write above: Why is that every time you review some Hollywood movie,you just can’t resist attacking ‘the Bollywood or the Tamil style of movie making’ for the sake of comparison.
Since we are of Indian origin and exposed to both Bollywood, Kollywood & Hollywood, we occasionally engage in comparison to highlight the inadequacies and the outright theft that’s endemic to Indian cinema.
Did two things I wanted to do for a long time..
1) Got a Wii
2) Watched “The Dark Knight”
you said “having a hard time keeping our eyes open now since we went for the 12:01 AM”..
could that be the reason for your not enjoying the movie as much as you should have. It is probably worth a revisit.
As you said, Ledger was “lip-smacking” good! http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=IlaEZWeNXsA&feature=related
After I came out of the theater, I was driving our minivan.. felt like I was Joker (further enhancing my belief that I am pure evil) driving the batmobile.. it was an exhilirating experience (yes, I loved the chases). The “gripping” thing about this movie is the dilemma posed by the joker for every character involved..
Watched it in IMAX. It was almost full even after nearly 2 months .. phenomenal.. for tickets priced higher than the regular theaters. I am rooting for it to beat the titanic record.. but not gonna happen 🙁
1. You write above: you said “having a hard time keeping our eyes open now since we went for the 12:01 AM”.. could that be the reason for your not enjoying the movie as much as you should have. It is probably worth a revisit.
The above line in the comment is an excellent example of careless citation because it insinuates subliminally that we dozed off during the movie. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The above line which you cite is actually from a reply to a comment that we processed at 6:57 AM on July 18…note the use of the word now in the sentence and the time it was processed. The movie was at 12:01 AM.
2. The chases are fine, if you are watching them the first time. But since we’d already watched Batman Begins with all its Batmobile effects, the chases in Dark Knight were not an exhilirating experience for us like it was for you (it’s of course possible you’d also watched Batman Begins and still found the chases exhilirating).
3. Got a Wii
That reminds us of the Sony PSP we bought a few years back and never even opened the factory-sealed box (why we even purchased it or why we did not care to open the box, we have no clue)…Maybe today, we’ll do the honors & see what’s inside. Who knows what we might find inside!
The name ‘BOLLYWOOD’ itself is a theft.
err.. oops, night owls.. 🙂 Yeah, I did watch Batman Begins.. but on DVD (and liked it).. so your argument is probably true.
Unlike your PSP my Wii has been fully utilized..
Chuck your PSP in the craigslist bin and get a Wii!
Looking for a nice digital watch…not happy with any of the 10 analog and digital watches we have.
Bought one recently from AMZN…not satisfied with that either.
if you have 10, you probably have the citizen eco-drive watch already?
Or you can turn to your iphone for time.. and save your wrist from an unnecessary burden..
Not the Citizen eco-drive but others like with the moon display et al.
The watch pictures look good but when it arrives they look shitty. Maybe, next time we’ll go in for a Suunto.
Yes, iPhone 3G is good too on a single screen, you can see five diff time zones (including the local one on top). It’s 4:20 AM in New Delhi…
Don’t know where to post this.. Many of the desis I know are refinancing their loans.. because of this
you probably don’t care about it because you’d have paid it off.
Many states have special first-time home buyers programs. First time home-buyers should check that out too.
Hey, speaking of movies in which Gary Oldman has starred, have you seen The Book of Eli? If you haven’t I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. The acting of everyone in this movie is pretty good and extraordinary in the case of Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman…I suggest that you review it, if you haven’t done so already
No, we haven’t seen The Book of Eli but we’ve watched other post-apocalyptic films like The Road (Viggo Mortensen).
Hailing from India, which has always looked like a post-apocalyptic world even in its current pre-apocalyptic state, we love such films. Reminds us of home. 😉
Will see The Book of Eli.
Ok…but you should watch it, according to me…gary oldman’s performance, though not nearly as good as heath ledger’s in the above film, is still awesome.
Hmm..the movie seems to concentrate more on the character of Harvey Dent rather than the Batman.Perhaps to highlight that he was a good guy at first and then suddenly turns out to a bad one. It is perhaps a different climax that his character is even showcased as a good one even after his death.
Joker(Ledger) was amazing!!