currently #1 on imdb.com’s top 250 of all-time. this is generally a sign of overly-hyped movies – i’ve seen a lot of films shoot to the top 20 and then fall off the top 250 altogether once the films go to rental and more and more people watch the film. this one has also gotten as much critical hype as anything since there will be blood and no country for old men. usually that makes me play the voice of reason and dissent, but not in this case. this film is epic and great and worthy of the praise it’s getting. simply put it’s one of the best action films i’ve seen since the matrix and possibly the best comic-based film ever.
why is it so good? 1) heath ledger as the joker is reason #1. every great action/adventure type film needs a great villain and this one has one in ledger. the makeup transforms him realistically – the scarring, the clown makeup, the oily hair, the wardrobe all add to the slimy character. but it’s his acting that truly makes the character. the slithering tongue (recalls the snake and original sin), the voice, the jerky movements all make up a performance that’s at least as good as daniel day-lewis’ performance in there will be blood; a performance that has been over-rated recently as one of the best in the history of cinema.
2) the writing is excellent. jonathan nolan (who also co-wrote memento with his brother) is a great writer and david s. goyer (blade) was probably responsible for some of the darker touches in the film. they made a good three-man writing team. batman’s character is more compelling and darkly drawn than he is in any previous incarnation that i’ve seen. the themes of chaos, darkness, evil, good, light, etc. are so well developed and explored, yet not too obviously done, that you forget you’re watching a “blockbuster.”
3) the music. two of the best pieces of original film music in the last five years have come from hans zimmer – one in the third pirates of the caribbean film and the other in this film. the main theme is so well treated here that it just keeps reaping benefits. zimmer’s main theme is used in small pieces, or leitmotifs, through the majority of the film and isn’t allowed to fully bloom until the last half hour or so. great music used well, doesn’t get much better than that.
4) nolan’s direction. david edelstein poo-pooed nolan’s direction, but, then again, he’s about as worthless as most film critics. nolan’s direction is actually quite good – his cross-cutting, the building of suspense, his work with the actors, writers, and musicians to bring the whole affair together are all commendable.
it’s rare to see a trailer as good as this and have the film actually deliver on the promise. the last time i saw a trailer as good as the one for the dark knight was the teaser for the hills have eyes 2. in that case the teaser was awesome and the film sucked. great film, watch it.Watched in theater