Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Dark Knight: Analysis Part 2

So, last night, Adam Ellis and I got out to see The Dark Knight in our local IMAX. First off, if you loved TDK in standard format, you will love it in IMAX. Remember what I said in my first review about the Hong Kong scene being kind of superfluous to the rest of the movie? Ok, NOW I understand why it's in there. When Batman basejumps off the skyscraper into Lao's building, it's simply jaw dropping. The whole film is just gorgeously shot and the director Chris Nolan really uses the IMAX format to the fullest.

So, after seeing the film, I naturally have a few more thoughts on it. Because I wasn't distracted with the ins and outs of the plot this time, I could really focus on the characters themselves and of course the most compelling is the Joker. Adam has read Nietzche and I haven't so I'm going to trust his point on this, but he says that the Joker is the ultimate Nietzche-an agent. An agent of chaos as the Joker refers to himself. What struck me about the Joker this time is that I was wrong about him in my first review. The stuff the Joker does isn't without purpose. It has a purpose. It's to strip away the thin veneer of civilization that he thinks we all put on our interactions with each other. The little barriers that keep us from slipping into barbarism. And he's about exposing our hypocrisy. The Joker was right in the movie that if he'd said a gangbanger was going to get shot or a truckload of soldiers was going to get blown up, we'd all simply accept that as the way of things in the world, because we HAVE accepted them as the way of the world. But when he threatened the Mayor of Gotham, people freaked out.

To me the Joker was about finding for each leader what would drive them past civilization. For Batman, he knew it was killing. And so he constantly tried to goad Batman into killing him. For Dent, he knew that Rachel was his anchor and so he took Rachel out in the most twisted way possible. Driving Dent into madness was also two fold. Not just did it drive Dent into barbarism, threatening Gordon's family, but his plan was for the rest of Gotham to find out about it too, bringing the hero that they'd all looked to down below them. The Joker's chaos had a purpose, but because we all fear chaos, it's hard to see the purpose in it. But again, the entire crux of the movie comes down to the ferries. The Joker has taken his experiment en masse and is trying now to strip the civilization from the people there, and it was there, in the ordinary people of Gotham City that he was proven wrong. In a convicted criminal, who throws the detonator out the window and even in the business man who loses his nerve, civilization and decency cannot be completely stripped away. There are limits that people have and in this case, they were still bound by that decency.

One last point: I'm not sure Dent is dead. We saw a memorial service, but never saw the body, never got a confirmation that he is dead. While the Joker won't be back (I wouldn't think), it's very possible that Dent could.

Once again, great movie. Perhaps the best of the year.

1 comment:

judy thomas said...

Oh, if our government could only see the resources of the "ordinary people."

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