It’s No Joke
♦Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk comes out in cinemas this Friday 21 July and so we at Tripwire have decided to rewatch and assess the nine films he has released prior to this just like we did with Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Bros. Next up is The Dark Knight, Nolan’s sixth film, which was released back in 2008
The Dark Knight
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine
Batman Begins was a big box office success and so inevitably it would spawn a sequel. Three years after its progenitor, we have The Dark Knight, the second in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and this time the villain is The Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. There’s no need for set up here as we know the origin of Bruce Wayne and Batman and so we just have a war between the Dark Knight and the police on one side and the city’s gangsters and the Clown Prince of Crime on the other.
Batman Begins was an ambitious film but The Dark Knight takes it all up a notch. Ledger is exceptionally good as The Joker and Bale seems more comfortable than he did in Batman Begins. We are introduced to new DA Harvey Dent (Eckhart) who becomes Bat-villain Two-Face, who decides everything on the toss of a coin. Rachel Dawes is recast with Katie Holmes replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal and we are introduced to new gangster Sal Maroni (Eric Roberts) who is marginalised thanks to the escapades of The Joker. Gary Oldman, back as James Gordon, is reliable as ever.
Visually The Dark Knight is amazing with Nolan creating a stunning , sweeping cityscape. His regular production designer Nathan Crowley and cinematographer Wally Pfister come together to offer the viewer a Gotham that is epic and cinematic.
The chemistry between Ledger and Bale is the centrepiece of The Dark Knight and it feels like a more accomplished superhero film than its predecessor. It isn’t perfect as its running time is a little flabby and there are a few plot holes that are hard to ignore. But despite these flaws, The Dark Knight is a superhero film with reach, ambition, heft and bears many of the hallmarks of Nolan’s film work.
It is certainly one of the most beautiful comicbook movies ever made.
It is intriguing that Nolan almost seems to alternate between his more personal work and his big budget Hollywood spectacles. The Dark Knight is a film with heart and soul and a worthy addition to the filmmaker’s canon.