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16 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Operation Enduring Freedom

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
4 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Work in the shadows. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using any means at our disposal to achieve our objective." – Dick Cheney

"The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist, and its power is employed above all to enforce this claim." - Guy Debord

Chris Nolan's "Dark Knight" stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, a millionaire weapons contractor who moonlights as Batman, a powerful superhero who beats up terrorists. Politically, some critics believe the film to be advocating the suspension of democracy in a time of terror. Others see it as endorsing scepticism of a leader's claims to free reign during a "state of emergency" (which is often the leader's own creation).

The truth is, the film presents the usual two-party, false binary present year after election year. Batman and politician Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) represent the opposite poles of so-called democratic politics. Batman, operating outside the law to protect the defenceless people of Gotham City, represents your typical Bush/Cheney/Nixon cryptofascist, rationalising what he does (torture, law breaking etc) for the "good of the homeland". Kipling called this the "white man's burden"; men rationalise their evil as a noble and necessary burden which must be righteously carried so as to spare others the load. Dent, meanwhile, along with one Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), are idealistic, by-the-books types. Both learn to be "pragmatic" and collaborate with vigilantes (Batman), if only to take down bad guys. Batman, Dent thinks, has become a necessity.

The film really tips its ideological hand during its Greek-tragedy final hour. Dawes, the most liberal of all the "good guys", dies at the hands of a terrorist called Joker (Heath Ledger), whilst the pragmatist Dent, scarred in war, abandons his ideals and embraces the Joker's ethos of chaos. In other words, we must accept the cold embrace of Batman if we want to be secure. Dent's law abiding idealism doesn't work. It's two faced and is merely a mask for chaos and disorder.

The Joker, with his Al-Qaeda like video recordings, his constant attacks on "women and children" and his advocacy of terrorism and chaos, is a figure who stands propagandistically for "America's enemies". IE- America's enemies are not an oppressed and exploited, diverse and divided group trying with futility to resist in various ways, but rather, they are a fundamentally irrational, monstrous, chaotic and lawless cult of death. Thus, the Joker offers only the wild, amoral, killing life beyond the protective (and expansionist) borders of "democracy" (aka corporatist imperialism).

The moral is as old, and as conservative, as Hobbes. The film says we can live in a wild, murderous wasteland OR a lawless, authoritarian police state. It doesn't matter which of these options the film presents as more appealing or fun, all that matters is that no other options present themselves. This false binary, rife with straw-men, is the complete opposite to something like "Hellboy 2", where our superheroes retire once they realise that the government for which they've been working ultimately opposes the difference and diversity they represent. Compared to "Dark Knight", this is genuinely radical.

Late in the film, Joker places a massive bet on the assumption that most people are as viciously indifferent to other human beings as he is. The Batman's counter-bet is that people are devoted to morals, order and authority. Batman wins, an act which serves not to celebrate Gothan's morality, but to legitimise the Dark Knight.

The bad guys themselves are an assortment of freaks and ethnic minorities while the good guys are, with the exception of slave boy Morgan Freeman, uptight bourgeois white Americans. The most virtuous of them is the "Great White Hope", Harvey Dent. Harvey, though his crusade against crime is on the legal side, secretly loves Batman's underground campaign of terror and Guantanamo Bay styled "free reign". In fact, Gotham police relies on Batman to break legs, smash faces, interrogate and torture on their behalf. And Batman, with enormous resources at his disposal, doesn't shirk from breaking international law to abduct a Chinese target or from erecting a colossal surveillance machine which makes Bush's extensive illegal wiretapping and water-boardings look lame. This subplot of the film is particularly insidious in light of the NSA's illegal PRISM, ECHELON and MUSCULAR surveillance programmes, ostensibly to "stop terrorists", but really to aid big business, spying on financial ministers, charities, leftists etc. In short, Batman is bad simply because the state can't afford to be seen being bad. What's odd is that Batman's struggle is not a collective one. The few members of the public who do try to "copycat" Batman's antics end up being butchered.

To protect Gotham, Batman and the police eventually create serial lies and myths for public consumption. It's the "noble lie" which the masses need to sustain their morale. In other words, leaders (Bush, Nixon etc) are self-righteously willing to be seen as immoral, under the understanding that you understand that what they do they do, Christ-like, for you. They protect us from Joker. Of course in the real world the nature of Joker is covered up, and Batman does nothing but enhance his own material wealth and power by way of the Joker's shocks to Gotham's system.

And so the "Knight" boils down to age old authoritarian motives: in order to have social stability you need a lie. The real hero of the film is actually the Joker, but the film's PG13 rating prevents it from dealing with this seriously. I'll take the Joker's anarchistic chaos over Batman's archaic commitment to corrupt systems of law and order any day. Not only that, Joker's psycho ramblings and burning towers of cash are infinitely more entertaining than Batman's Multi-million Dollar Extreme Warfare Batmobile.

6/10 - Popcorn fascism. Despite a strong first half, "Knight's" second half drowns in messily shot action and needless subplots. See "Die Hard 3".

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25 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

good but overrated

Author: r3i6nm8n2002 from Los Angeles, CA
25 August 2008

Normally I would give this a 7.5 out of 10 but since I cant' I'll give it a seven. How anyone could rate this title that high on is amazing to me. It's mostly fanboys that believe this is the best movie ever and the best thing since sliced bread but what most fanboys fail to notice because they lack objectivity is that while the movie is a good one, it is quite flawed and nowhere near as perfect as many of the fanboys have rated.

A couple things I noticed when I watch this movie, the movie goes on way too long. Even my friends agreed and they are huge Batman fans. There are about 3 or 4 points in the movie where it seems like it will end but goes on for another 30 minutes. And while Heath Ledger's performance is top notch and Bale as Bruce Wayne is pulled of quite flawlessly, his Batman persona is a bit weak. The voice is annoying, and many times throughout the movie, he seemingly plays second fiddle.

I can't know Eckhart's casting as Two Face but Maggie Gyllenhall just doesn't seem to fit and just seems to be a standalone piece of eye candy.

There are many things I can harp about but I'm not here to knock the movie. There are good points, cinematography great, Joker and Two Face played excellently by their counterparts, mood was effective and story flowed quite well albeit a bit too long.

BUT this movie doesn't even belong in mention to some of the greats and shame on many movie fans that had this movie rated higher than such classics as The Godfather. Obviously the fanboys bought way too much into the hype.

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28 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

So overrated!

Author: info-14461 from Berlin
24 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So this is the movie that created one box-office record after the other. I really expected quite something, but was left disappointed. It's definitely not a bad movie. There are many things that are good entertainment and worth watching and definitely one of the better movies this year, but come on it has so many flaws. If you think that a movie like matrix which is more original, more intelligent, better from its action-sequences and so on and so on just didn't earned that much at the box-office.

The most disturbing thing is probably the amount of realism they tried to put in a comic book story. Which always confused me as a viewer. That doesn't work for me. I think there was a hype created in America that pleased the hardcore comic book fans but i think the main reason why it was so extremely successful in America is it's dealing with Americas 9/11 Trauma.

The whole movie was kind of a propaganda movie for the government and its actual foreign policy.

When you see Batman standing in the ruins of an exploded building together with the firemen it evokes images of 9/11. And America's desperate yearning for a hero. Someone who will clean up with this scum. But what made "it" a scum isn't really told. A super-villain like the joker is just mad in a comic book. But in real life who is mad and who is not is often just a matter of the point of view.

The prisoners in the one boat evoke images of Guantanamo. And it justifies their illegal and often unjustified imprisonment of innocents with the words of the people of "other boat" . Why shall we have mercy with them. They blew their chance. But still we give them much more than they deserve. It still was a nice gesture giving them some kind of redemption by letting tiny lister throwing the detonator outside.

In the end Batman stand for me as a symbol for "W", because he is blamed by the people even though he is doing it seemingly just for them and sometimes they don't appreciate it or even understand it.

Next thing was how often and illogically they let the joker get away. I mean come on. The just cut to another scene and he is free. Thats so cheezy.

Batman hits him up like nothing and the man doesn't even bleed a bit. Other real people he just hits once and they are K.O. I thought the Joker had no superpowers but here he seems invincible.

Then you wonder how quick he has everything planned without ever getting a touch of an recruited army behind him , even though he seems to have tons and tons of toy soldiers. I a comic book it works but in a movie where they try to put a lot of realism in it it feels weird. First he is in prison but he is so foreseeing everything. Maybe i need to see it again. But it felt weird.

The action sequences felt not really thought trough. The whole chase tunnel sequence was so unrealistic. i mean first the police somehow never hits back. And joker just shoots and shoots and shoots. And it felt unreal.

Maggie Gyllenhall felt miscast. She maybe a favorite in art-house productions but here you need someone with obviously more sex-appeal. I never bought it that they fell for her.

The the totally unrealistic wounds of Harvey dent turning into "two-face". Come on. No one would have such an open wound. Isn't "Two-Face" a mad scicophrenic in the books. Here he never feels mad, just like a guy trying to get his revenge. Thats what I mean, with the amount of realism. Here a mad character from the books is explained in his madness, but the main character the joker which is a synonym for any terrorist threatening America isn't explained a bit. Yeah better that way. One might get scarred that one self turned that man into a terrorist. So they better leave that explanation out.

Then the much hyped about heath ledger (r.i.p.) performance. It was good but not that great. For me it was just an update of the Nicholson joker. He even talked much like him and his facial expressions also resembled Nicholson's expressions. So whats all the hype about. He is still performing very good but not legendary. I have seen better villains.

Then it seemed like there were many points in the movie that resembled of "L.A. Cofidential" One scene in the end where they let Harvey dent die as a hero is one of them but there were others too which i forgot.

So after all. Worth watching. Good movie. But too overrated. And i still don't understand the enormous box-office-records.

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29 out of 56 people found the following review useful:


Author: tombelushi from United Kingdom
26 August 2008

A good film but not the master piece every one is making it out to be. One word. Hype. Two face is wasted and his existence is only known by Gordon and batman in the end so why bother using (and wasting)his character?, was there any real point in Maggie Gylenhall? The ferry bit went on far too long (probably so they could give ledger more screen time), The batbike/pod thing looked really slow and spent most of its time spinning its wheels and looked like more of an excuse to release a cool toy tie in! and i could go on but you probably all agree but are too blinded by hype and the fact that ledgers dead to see that this is a pretty average film. Why was the scarecrow not arrested at the start of the film? How come the clear reference at the end of batman begins regarding the jokers existence is completely forgotten about in the next movie. I could go on but i'm sure you'll all realise when the hypes died down. In summery, too long, wasted characters, a bit of mis casting and what the f**k was with batmans ultra gruff voice! i nearly choked on my popcorn first time i heard him! Heath ledger is a sad loss however.

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29 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

A stupendous effort that needed a little tweaking.

Author: Thauseef Ahmed from United States
19 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review is for you, if you have watched it, and are wondering if it was brilliant and flawless. Or was there a tiny little "hard to point your finger at" thing that was wrong with it?

I am an avid Batman fan, who has been devouring the Frank Miller graphic novels that depict the grim and gritty side of the dark Knight. I have followed the tidbits and stories on Dark Knight for over a year. Batman Begins marked the beginning of one of the most amazing "ordinary superhero movie" ever witnessed. Four years later, as I stepped into the hall, and awaited the beginning of this new movie, the excitement was almost palpable.

I was not disappointed. The movie had enough chills and sadistic pleasures to keep me hooked and unable to look away from the screen for the most parts. And yet, when the credits rolled, I had a queer feeling, as though something wasn't entirely right.

A few hours after the sensory overload, when I could finally think,I realized one of its drawbacks was dwelling into too many story plots simultaneously. For instance, we follow the joker through a long, and sometimes cumbersome car chase, which except for that final brilliant (and much publicized) truck sequence, was nothing great. We have been lead to believe that the joker is a man who attacks psychologically, and is not physically strong. This is portrayed eloquently in the interrogation scene.

As a result the car sequence became the sort of cliché they could not avoid despite the possibility of becoming the only boring sequences in an otherwise splendid movie. I remember because, I caught myself yawning.

Also considering how Joker is the arch nemesis of Batman - the yang to the Dark Ying, the absolute bad guy, Two Face pales by comparison. No doubt, the make up and graphics are grotesque and excellently done. But we just are not able to believe that he is capable of the menace that Joker manages to exude.

I just could not believe that Two-Face was that bad. The directors have somehow failed to bring the transition between his characters. If i remember the comic books, the disaster drove Two Face insane, making him dependent on the coin even for small decisions.

The real trouble if you ask me, was bringing in a new villain in the last half hour of the movie. One that made the joker's final confrontation with Batman seem a little unsatisfying. I kept expecting them to show Joker one last time. He didn't die, did he? Yes, I do understand how Joker is the arch nemesis, and its Batman's great burden that he can never kill Joker, and they are back at it time and again...but Ledger is dead. We know he won't return. So we, as audience wanted an ultimatum. Not a dangling loose end and definitely not a dangling loose joker from a building top.

Enough with the criticism. I am Batman fan. A son of batman, if you wanna call me (ref: Frank Miller). I loved the style. I loved the bat pod, the first robbery sequence, Joker's pencil disappearing trick, the flick of his tongue, the little line about Joker completing Batman, the other line about joker being the dog that chases the car and not knowing what to do if it catches the car...

Dark Knight was about Heath Ledger. Sadly, we wanted more of him. It JUST WASN'T ENOUGH! Batman as always was his sporting best, the flight sequences were brilliant, Caine and Freeman had the best lines apart from Ledger. Aaron Eckhart did a great job as Harvey Dent, though I did feel that Two-Face lacked character. I expected the sort of chill Javier Bardem inspired in No country for old men, when he tosses the coin. Instead, Two-Face's tosses were merely just passably interesting. Oh, I must really commend the Nolan brothers for doing away with the only female lead, and in such a sudden and scary way. I almost couldn't believe it.

Enough has been spoken about Ledger. I do not want to be repetitive. Clearly, his lines were the best. But more important was his body language and sequences, which were to say the least, eccentric. Kudos to Nolan for a good script, something that could give Ledger an opportunity for such a mind blowing performance. He sparkles in every scene, and we only wish there was much more of him.

A word on Bale. As Batman, he is the best ever. As Bruce Wayne, he does excel in a few scenes. But were those scenes requiring Bruce Wayne driving around in his Lamborghini necessary at all? In the quest to make The Joker the most remarkable villain ever, some of the dilemmas that made Batman the Dark Knight are never questioned. Batman Begins did such a good job of bringing in the character. Why leave him like hanging like a prop actor in this one?

Some of these sequences could no doubt be shortened. Batman could have been given some character and Two Face could've been the surprise element, AFTER a somewhat more definite end to JOKER, and the movie would have been a tad more awesome. I would have given it a 10. Instead I give it a 9. I dare not give it less than that...

Background score was brilliant. The scenes involving Joker, just before he mutilates someone, or pops a psychological question, are well, horrifying. I was almost squirming in my seat.

Over all a brilliant movie. A landmark Batman film, that ends on the right note, ready to jump headlong into the next phase of Batman's life. I only hope it doesn't take four more years! Long Live the Batman franchise. Long live Nolan fraternity. RIP ledger.

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31 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Bringing this conversation back down to earth

Author: deproduction from Denver
20 July 2008

Writing this review at the tail end of opening weekend, the Dark Knight has broken the record for opening weekend and deservedly so... this film is a step-above the standard summer blockbuster. However, the film also sits atop IMDb's top 250 films of all-time list, a ranking that won't last nearly as long as its box-office rank. Lines have been long to see this film, and many of those who are voting on this opening weekend are die-hards who waited in line and were ready to love this film regardless of what it offered. Of course, the fact that this film stands alone in its genre in terms of writing, cinematography, art design, and plot helps boost its ratings into the stratosphere, but when the non die-hards begin to watch and vote, we'll see this film settle into its rightful place, somewhere in the top 25 of all time. Its one of those few films that is entertaining and accessible enough to please the same people who went out in droves for Spiderman 3, while artistic and smart enough to please the more discerning cinematic audiences. Truly disturbing, the characters were far from cliché, as one would expect from the genre. No character is all-good or all-bad. Ledger's Joker comes close, but earns a touch of sympathy. None of the heroes are flawless, which is a sign of any good film. My single complaint (besides the various hard-to-believe falls Batman survives) is the rating. This film is far-too disturbing to garner a PG13 rating, and deals with the ugliest sides of humanity in a way that should probably be accompanied by a good conversation that can add some perspective... yet another reason why this film is so good.

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40 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

Over long, rambling, episodic, pompous. Nice effects though.

Author: paddy-2 from London, England
14 August 2008

Seeing it rated as the third best movie of all time by IMDb voters, and ranking up huge box office, I thought I'd give it a swing.

I mostly wish I hadn't bothered. Like most super-hero movies nowadays, it's one gigantic battleship of a movie, weighed down by its humongous budget and massive running time. How many sub-plots do we need? How many conflicted characters, staring into the depths of their pompous souls? Visually - great. And the vfx crew have to be credited for some of the most seamless and impressive work ever done, on the city, the batmobile, the bat bike etc. Brilliant stuff.

But the story, the script, the pacing - all pretty blaah. Did I give a damn about any of the characters? Did I really care what was going to happen next? Nope. Did I actually know what was going on half the time, what with the various criminals, their money, the money laundering guy, the Joker, the various Police Departments (what the hell is "County"?). No, no, no. Boring. I was actually looking at my watch.

The one intriguing episode in the film - with the ferries - is shoved in three quarters of the way through the film, and unceremoniously dumped once it has served its purpose in sticking other bits of the film together.

So, all in all, I wish I'd spent the time some other way.

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47 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as most people would have you believe

Author: Robert Dawes from United Kingdom
28 August 2008

The Dark Knight is an intensely powerful, dramatic and compelling film, but despite that I'm not sure I really enjoyed it a great deal. I saw it on the huge IMAX screen in London, which has an ability to almost suck you into the action and make you feel a part of the film, but at the same time various aspects of the film meant that I felt alienated from the characters and the plot.

Who is Batman, and what do we really know about him? After having watched the whole film (all 2.5 hours of it), I'm not sure I could say. What are his motives? Does he really love Rachel - indeed does he have the capacity to love at all? Again, hints are given, but the central character is so poorly developed that it makes it hard to really care about what happens to him or those around him.

My inability to empathise with the characters wasn't helped by the ridiculous number of sub-plots, most of which are rushed or incomplete, and the relentless pace at which the film moves from one to the other. The film would have been so much better if it had stuck to a simpler storyline, and developed the characters and themes within that.

The frenzied sequence of largely unrelated action set-pieces, whilst initially breathtaking, ended up feeling dull and predictable. What was lacking in between the explosions was anything resembling meaningful dialogue. A few mumbled words from Batman and some inane musings from the Joker weren't enough to keep the film going.

As such, I left the film feeling somewhat exhausted at the bleak, joyless, violent world I had witnessed, and disappointed that this much-hyped film just hadn't been as good as I was hoping it would be.

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62 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

A Testament to the Stupidity of Our Times

Author: barrygermansky-1 from Canada
22 May 2009

Although suffering from a muddled plot, ill-defined characters, a typically uncharismatic performance by Christian Bale, and a lack of energy, The Dark Knight proved to be on of 2008's greatest commercial and critical successes.

The fact that this film is in the Top Ten list tells me two things: 1) Most of the people who rated this highly are either 10-year-olds or adults with the attention span of 10-year-olds. I do not mean to offend all 10-year-olds, because there are some rare exceptions. But, you can catch my drift.

2) People who rated this highly have not seen many of the other, better films on this list. They have nothing to compare The Dark Knight to.

Anyway, I just hope this film's current standing sinks down far below the 250 mark.

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91 out of 180 people found the following review useful:

Plot so thin, it passes unnoticed.

Author: Rasmus Persson from Sweden
30 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Dark Knight is not a good movie, by any measure. I will now proceed to provide reasons for this statement, in the process of which SPOILERS will abound.

In this film Batman (The Batman, as the characters refer to him) possesses superpowers rivaled only by Superman: he bends gun barrels using his bare hand (yes, only one hand) and falls from ridiculous heights, not deploying his cape, and lands without as much as a scratch to his body. The Batman is apparently not aware that it is not the fall that kills you, it is the quick acceleration at the end, and no matter the quality of the Batsuit, that acceleration cannot be reduced.

On the other hand, his kevlar Batsuit which, evidently, is impervious to bullets of small hand guns fired at close range, is unable to withstand dog bites.

The Joker, whose obvious insanity is the only light of the movie, is well-played by Ledger who flares with his eyes and mouth to give him an almost rabid portrayal, but other than being a dark menace to society, his odd manners and, at one time, drag outfit, provide comedic relief in the film.

Apart from being just a regular killing maniac, he also possesses superpowers of his own: in the film, he is depicted with an apparent and sporadic invisibility to police forces. That they do not notice his deformed face without make-up in their own ranks during a salute may be pardonable, but when blowing up an apparently unsurveilled hospital on prior warning and then leaving, in full make-up, in a school bus (his escape vehicle of choice, also from bank raids), his failed apprehension seems unpardonable. Unless, of course, all the cops had their lunch break, as the sun indicates it is around noon.

The plot is so thin at times, you expect it to crack at any moment. It is like there are many small plots, in all of which Batman, the purported main character, plays but a small role. Whatever the Joker has been doing all his life, before going on a murder spree, is pardonable to omit, but when he breaks into Bruce Wayne's penthouse (probably using his cloaking capabilities), the same locale that a few scenes later will be referred to as "the safest place in town" by the same person who was tossed out a window during this same brief encounter, it is an interesting question just how the maniac and his armed gang are persuaded to leave the party full of Gotham's economic elite, something they must have done without causing much further harm as it goes largely unnoticed by the other characters.

Batman speaks with a deathly voice, that is so ghoulish it could scare off any foe, would he just make more use of it against his enemies, and not blather like that to his friends. That he finally tracks the Joker down, is not due to any superior detective skills, as he gets good help from prying on all of Gotham's mobile phones that he immorally and secretly has replaced with his own brand, all in one night's work. More ridiculous plot element is hard to come by.

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