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The Dark Knight (2008)

aka The Dark Knight

"Why So Serious?"

Directed By: 
Details: 152 mins · English, Standard Mandarin · PG-13 (USA)

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My beef with this is the same as always - Harvey Dent's transformation to Two-Face just isn't believable. To go from being a white knight to wanting that kind of revenge... and because of what? That the Joker lied about who was where, and Gordon was a few seconds too late? No, I don't buy it.

... Other than that, I did enjoy the movie though.

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Very stylish and dark with a splendid Joker

As far as superheroes go, this is also one of my favorites, because of the darkness and the gloom within Gotham City, the mystery surrounding Batman, and all those fun gadgets. I am not sure that Christian Bale is the best choice for the part as he just falls a little flat .. I can see him as Bruce Wayne, but Batman? That silly low voice?
Though maybe that's just because Heath Ledger's performance as Joker is so completely marvelous that everyone else pales beside him.
All in all, I quite enjoyed the film. It's a bit too long with a little too much action, but I guess that's what superhero movies are about. I love the visual style of the film and I particularly liked the battle of the ferries. And, it's simply worth watching for the Joker ...

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A crowning achievement with a sparkling jewel.

I don't tend to gush about films very often, particularly because it is rare that films are gush-worthy. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that critics can complain about with The Dark Knight, but there are certain elements of this movie that are so good, are so measurably and comparably brilliant that a little gush now and then seems appropriate.

The second chapter in Nolan's Batman series has a lot of good things going for it. Christopher Nolan is excellent when it comes to the executing of vision, and this film, from start to finish maintains a constant and consistent tone, both in the performances and the ambiance. Nolan is famous (or infamous) for working without a second unit director, meaning he tends to be behind the camera for literally every single take of every single shot. Though that sort of grueling schedule makes for unrealistic time expectations, it delivers a damn fine film if you are committed as a director and steadfast in your position. From the...(more)

I don't tend to gush about films very often, particularly because it is rare that films are gush-worthy. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that critics can complain about with The Dark Knight, but there are certain elements of this movie that are so good, are so measurably and comparably brilliant that a little gush now and then seems appropriate.

The second chapter in Nolan's Batman series has a lot of good things going for it. Christopher Nolan is excellent when it comes to the executing of vision, and this film, from start to finish maintains a constant and consistent tone, both in the performances and the ambiance. Nolan is famous (or infamous) for working without a second unit director, meaning he tends to be behind the camera for literally every single take of every single shot. Though that sort of grueling schedule makes for unrealistic time expectations, it delivers a damn fine film if you are committed as a director and steadfast in your position. From the director's chair, Nolan got a better than good (but not quite great) performance from Christian Bale, who tends to be a little stiff at times. The rest of the ensemble of characters delivers an overall good show, apart from a standout who I will discuss later. The soundtrack, editing, even foley in this movie demand attention, and despite the fact that this movie is probably a little too long, you tend to be in it from start to finish. The final shots of this movie are positively riveting, and knowing that there is a 3rd and final installment coming behind it makes it all the more enjoyable.

There are a couple of things that ruffle feathers. Rachel Dawe, this time played by Maggie Gyllenhal is still unbelievable. At first I thought it was Holmes' performance in the first chapter (not good), and then I thought it was Gyllenhal in the second (also not good), and while neither of these ladies has ever more than mildly impressed me, I think part of the problem might be acting across from Bale, who is a little bit of a nincompoop sometimes. Also, the fact that there are so many characters in this film that all demand development and backstory makes the setup and exposition a little tiresome. While it eventually comes together, from time to time you find yourself saying, "sheesh, another guy we have to learn about".

All that aside, there is a reason this is a 4 star movie and not a 3 star movie. Heath Ledger. Ledger's performance as The Joker is positively spell-binding. His commitment to the role, the continuity of his body language, his improvisation, his seemingly effortless transformation made him impossible to take your eyes off of. I have watched this movie a couple of times only to try and understand completely what it is about this character that is so captivating. The little things, like how Ledger never looks at his victims as he is killing them. The way that he talks to Harvey Dent in the hospital, with a certain humanity that isn't present on the surface of his more vicious outbursts, but once you see it in him you realize it has been there the whole time. Who knows whether or not we as an audience would collectively stand up and applaud Ledger the way we do had he not died so soon after finishing this film, but the fact is, we have a snapshot of a truly gifted actor in the sweet spot of his craft, a rare portrait we should all be thankful for. If for no other reason, watch this movie for Ledger's performance. (less)

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Cast:

Small Batman
Small The Joker
Small Rachel Dawes
Small Harvey Dent
Small Lucius Fox
Small James Gordon
Small Alfred Pennyworth
Small Sal Maroni
Small Gambol
No_movie_poster Tommy
Small Det. Anna Ramirez
No_movie_poster Det. Michael Wuertz
Small Jonathan Crane / The Scarecrow
Small Lau
No_movie_poster The Chechen
Small Mike Engel
No_movie_poster Det. Gerard Stephens
No_movie_poster Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb
Small LSI VP
Small Mayor Anthony Garcia
No_movie_poster Coleman Reese
Small
No_movie_poster Pedestrian
Small James Gordon Jr.
Small Barbara Gordon
No_movie_poster Shotgun SWAT

Crew:

No_movie_poster Charles Roven Producer
Small Christopher Nolan Director
Small Jonathan Nolan Screenplay
Small Emma Thomas Producer
No_movie_poster Wally Pfister Director of Photography
Small Hans Zimmer Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster James Newton Howard Original Music Composer
Small David S. Goyer Story
Small Christopher Nolan Production
No_movie_poster Lorne Orleans Production
Small Christopher Nolan Other
Small David S. Goyer Story Contributor
Small Christopher Nolan Story Contributor
Small Bob Kane Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Lee Smith Editing

Taglines:

"Why So Serious?"

"Welcome to a world without rules."

"Can you avenge evil and not become it?"

"Out of the darkness, comes the Knight."

Plot:

In Gotham City, The Joker and his accomplices rob a mob-owned bank. The accomplices kill each other off one by one in a sequence masterminded by the Joker, who escapes alone with all the money.

Batman and Lt. Jim Gordon decide to include the new district attorney, Harvey Dent, in their plan to eradicate the mob. Although Dent is dating Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne is impressed with his idealism and offers to throw him a fundraiser. Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and The Chechen hold a videoconference with Lau, a Chinese accountant who has hidden their funds and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker interrupts the meeting, warning that Batman is unhindered by jurisdiction. He offers to kill Batman for half their money, but the mob bosses refuse, and Gambol puts a bounty on him. The Joker kills Gambol and takes control of his men. Batman captures Lau and delivers him back to Gotham to testify against the Joker and the mob.

The Joker announces that people will die each day unless Batman reveals his identity. He then kills Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and the judge presiding over the mob trials. He also targets Dent at the fundraiser, but Bruce hides Dent. Gordon foils the Joker's assassination attempt on Mayor Garcia, apparently sacrificing himself in the process. Bruce plans to reveal his identity, but Dent instead names himself as Batman to protect the truth. Dent is taken into protective custody and pursued by the Joker across the city; Batman rushes to Dent's aid. Gordon, who faked his death, helps apprehend the Joker and is promoted to Commissioner.

That night, Dent and Rachel disappear. Batman interrogates the Joker and discovers that Dent and Rachel are held in two separate buildings filled with explosives. The Joker reveals their locations, and Batman goes to Rachel's, only to realize that the Joker has tricked him into finding Dent moments before both buildings explode, killing Rachel and scarring half of Dent's face. The Joker detonates a bomb in the police station and escapes with Lau.

Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises, deduces Batman's true identity and plans to reveal it. The Joker kills Lau and The Chechen, then threatens to bomb a hospital unless Reese is killed. Gordon and Bruce protect Reese, who changes his mind. The Joker visits Dent in the hospital and convinces him to seek revenge. The Joker then blows up the hospital and escapes with hostages.

Dent starts to go after people responsible for Rachel's death, deciding their fates by flipping a coin. He kills Maroni and a cop who had helped kidnap Rachel. It is revealed that the Joker rigged two ferries with explosives to escalate chaos; one ferry is full of citizens, the other full of prison inmates and guards. He then gives the passengers of each ferry the choice to blow the other up before midnight — otherwise, both ferries will explode. The passengers ultimately refuse.

Batman asks a reluctant Lucius Fox to use a city-wide tracking prototype device to find the Joker; Fox agrees, but says he will resign immediately afterward. The Joker dresses up hostages as his men, luring Gordon's SWAT team to strike them. Batman fights off the SWAT team and the Joker's men, then rescues the hostages. Batman apprehends the Joker, but the Joker gloats that he has won, as Gotham will lose hope once Dent's rampage becomes public. The SWAT team arrives to take the Joker into custody.

Dent lures Gordon to the building where Rachel died and holds Gordon's family hostage. Batman confronts Dent, who judges the fates of himself, Batman, and Gordon's son with three coin flips. He shoots Batman, spares himself, then flips again to determine the boy's fate. Batman, who is wearing body armor, tackles Dent off the building, killing him and saving the boy. Batman then convinces Gordon to frame him for the murders so that Dent will remain a symbol of hope for the city. Gordon destroys the Bat-Signal and launches a manhunt for the Batman. Alfred Pennyworth burns a letter written by Rachel to Bruce announcing her engagement to Dent, and Fox watches the signal tracker self-destruct.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Singapore

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Thailand

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Brazil

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Canada

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Colombia

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : India

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Indonesia

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Mexico

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Panama

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Uruguay

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : Venezuela

Theatrical : 2008-07-21 : Iceland

Theatrical : 2008-07-21 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 2008-07-22 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2008-07-23 : Belgium

Theatrical : 2008-07-23 : Egypt

Theatrical : 2008-07-23 : Iceland

Theatrical : 2008-07-23 : Italy

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Croatia

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Finland

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Ireland

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Israel

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Kuwait

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Lebanon

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Lithuania

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : New Zealand

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Portugal

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Serbia

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Slovakia

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : Slovenia

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : United Arab Emirates

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Bulgaria

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Estonia

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Finland

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Latvia

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Norway

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Romania

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : South Africa

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Sweden

Theatrical : 2008-07-25 : Turkey

Theatrical : 2008-08-01 : Germany

Theatrical : 2008-08-02 : Japan

Theatrical : 2008-08-02 : Poland

Theatrical : 2008-08-06 : South Korea

Theatrical : 2008-08-07 : Czech Republic

Theatrical : 2008-08-07 : Hungary

Theatrical : 2008-08-08 : Poland

Theatrical : 2008-08-09 : Japan

Theatrical : 2008-08-13 : France

Theatrical : 2008-08-13 : Spain

Theatrical : 2008-08-13 : Switzerland

Theatrical : 2008-08-14 : Kazakhstan

Theatrical : 2008-08-14 : Russia

Theatrical : 2008-08-14 : Ukraine

Theatrical : 2008-08-21 : Austria

Theatrical : 2008-08-21 : Germany

Theatrical : 2008-08-21 : Switzerland

Theatrical : 2008-08-28 : Armenia

Theatrical : 2008-10-10 : Pakistan

Theatrical : 2009-01-23 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2009-01-24 : Japan

Theatrical : 2009-02-06 : Brazil

Theatrical : 2009-02-12 : Singapore

Theatrical : 2009-02-13 : Mexico

Theatrical : 2009-02-19 : Peru

Theatrical : 2009-02-19 : South Korea

Theatrical : 2009-09-24 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 2008-07-24 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 2008-07-16 : Australia

Theatrical : 2008-07-18 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2008-07-14 : Argentina

Theatrical : 2008-07-14 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2008-07-16 : Taiwan

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Argentina

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Chile

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Greece

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Malaysia

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Peru

Theatrical : 2008-07-17 : Philippines

DVD : 2008-12-09 : North America