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The Dark Knight is an Engaging Example of Nolan’s Finest Work

Five out of Five Stars, Rated: PG-13

Ben Hanssen, Student Contributor

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Christopher Nolan is known for his paradoxical stories and sometimes causes the potential watcher to shy away, but in this film Nolan makes every watcher think and effectively demonstrates his strengths as a director. By far, this is Nolan’s best movie. He is equipped with an elite cast including Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Christian Bale (Batman), Heath Ledger (The Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent), Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth) and Gary Oldman (Detective Gordon). The Dark Knight is an exceptional film because it looks so real. So many kids have read Batman comics and so many people want to be Bruce Wayne that the movie has a wide appeal.

The film starts out with a invigorating first scene that grabs the viewer’s attention. One note on a string instrument captivates the audience. The Joker is with some fellow mindless burglars attempting to rob a mob bank. In this scene the tone is set for one of the best characterized figures in the movie, the villainous Joker. Heath Ledger probably gives the best acting performance in the film. Also, this scene introduces everyone to the idea of the mob. The Dark Knight is very much a crime drama. It is revealed in this scene that the mob has great power as they have a bank. The Joker is incredibly characterized in this scene. As one mob member tells Joker he is “dead” as he escapes with the money. He replies by saying “whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.” This goes to show that the Joker is crazy and isn’t too into logic.

The movie moves along when Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent attempt to attack the mob. They ignore the threat of the Joker in order to stop them. Ironically, the mob request the Joker’s help to stop the Batman (Bruce Wayne) who protects a helps keep Gotham City safe. This includes Rachel, whom he loves, but the situation is complicated as she plans to marry the D.A., Harvey Dent. The Joker devises a plan to test the morals of Batman and Gotham City and all hell breaks loose.

The setting plays a substantial role in the movie. In so many movies, the setting plays no role. The protagonists are just in a place to be in a place. Bruce Wayne, the main protagonist, is shown to be deeply tied to his city. Gotham resembles Chicago and has similar crime problems. Bruce is determined to save the city and rid it of crime as both the Batman and Bruce Wayne. As Batman, Bruce helps arrest a track down certain mob leaders and as Bruce, he helps raise money for Dent as he furthers to put the city’s criminals behind bars.

The protagonists are great ones at that. At no point in the story did it seem that the protagonists were annoying. Bruce Wayne, Rachel and Jim were all very likeable. They weren’t too flawless and they also weren’t invincible. All of them act in a stellar way, but Jim Gordon shines the most.

The villain was by far the best part of the movie. One of the best decisions on Christopher Nolan’s part is deciding to wait to put the Joker in the second movie. The Joker was much better in a world that was already established from the previous Batman film. The Joker is a great balance between the character being likeable and also being cool. Villains need to be hated by the watcher, but also need to be relatable so people could see where they are coming from. The Joker was crazy and did harm to some beloved characters, but people could also see where he was coming from. The Joker states that some people think of themselves so highly, but everyone is the same and equal. He declares that everyone can be as crazy as him if you just give them a little push.

As a final note, this production made the audience think a great about morality and other justifications. The highest point in the film is when the Joker causes two ships to make the ultimate decision. Two boat are moving away from Gotham City. In order to prove that ordinary citizens can be like him with a little push he rigs two ships with a bomb. In both these ships he places a detonator for the other ship. One boat has a bunch of supermax prisoners on it and the other has ordinary civilians. If the detonator isn’t pressed on one of the ships, both the boats blow up. The people on the vessels must press the detonator to blow up another ship. Christopher Nolan asks an essential question. Are prisoners’ lives worth free people’s lives? This was one of the greatest stalemates in a movie.

The movie’s fast paced action sequences, drama, intensity, single-note soundtrack and diverse story all contribute to one of the best films ever made. It has everything there is to offer. It even has comedy as the joker can be actually really funny sometimes, but not in a way that seems forced. If you have never watched The Dark Knight, it is time to pick it up on Blu Ray, Netflix, DVD, or wherever you can find it and just watch it. It is highly unlikely that you won’t enjoy the movie. The movie that is the second highest rated on IMDB must be one of the all time great movies.

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The Dark Knight is an Engaging Example of Nolan’s Finest Work