Customer Review

658 of 782 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Masterpiece Surpasses the Hype, October 11, 2008
This review is from: The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Christopher Nolan has a vision. And whether you agree with it or not, he undeniably completes it in "The Dark Knight"--a vicious, engrossing, overwhelming, intelligent event- film that re-defines 'comic-book-flicks'. In Nolan's grim, dark-depiction of Gotham-City (the crime-ridden hell protected by legendary superhero Batman), the director strives to make everything real (something he began in the well-received "Batman Begins"). He makes it plausible, possible. And yet there's more to it: just as 'Begins' was a dissection of myth, the nature of symbols and heroes, 'Knight' is the escalation of that notion. It's a biblical- confrontation of 'good-and-evil', yet as 'good-and-evil' really exist: a conflict of ideals, something that can't be purely-defined but that is relative to a viewpoint. In Nolan's world, the line of villainy and heroism isn't crossed... it's non-existent. The bad-guys don't see themselves as bad-guys, and as such something so unnervingly-real comes across it might fly past some people's minds (no insult to anybody, it's just common that people don't look deep into 'popcorn-flicks'): the battle is a complete ambiguity.

The film runs at nearly 2.5-hours, yet never ceases to lose interest or momentum. It doesn't waste a scene or moment; every event is utilized and necessary. 'The Dark Knight' tells a story worth telling and it takes the proper amount of time to tell it. Action-sequences are frantic, old-school, eye-grabbing stunts (vastly superior to 'Begins') and in their chaotic intensity we see that they serve purpose to the story, yet more interesting are not played for pure entertainment-value: we are meant to watch, petrified, simply hoping that the outcome will go the hero's way. Attention is never lost because we are immersed in a breathtaking, almost completely-unpredictable story (it packs many a shock), that makes us think and more importantly gains our emotional-investment. We come to care for the characters, because they are believable, developed, and personified fully.

Everyone has great-chemistry together. Maggie Gyllenhal is a more mature Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes. Morgan Freeman provides his authoritative presence to the role of bad- gadget-inventor/Wayne-Enterprise CEO Lucius Fox, and under anyone else's portrayal, the part would be less-memorable. Gary Oldman underplays his world-wearied lawman with such honest-nobility, you never feel for a second any of its forced-acting. The irreplaceable Michael Caine makes a gentle, reassuring, father-like presence as Alfred, and the movie would surely fail without his strong-presence and interjected-moments of light-humor.

And while everyone (rightfully) pours the praise unto Bale and Ledger, I think most are glancing-over Knight's breakout-performance. As Harvey Dent, Aaron Eckhart does more than hold himself in the company of such a renowned-cast. He makes his presence known, whether he's playing on the easy-going charisma of Gotham's 'White-Knight' or the broken and damaged, twisted-soul of Two-Face. He achieves a full-impact with the tragedy that comes unto his character, and so closely connects with Dent, that he makes his pain tangible for us: we sympathize even as we become terrified. He captures both facets of each personality flawlessly.

Now, some people cite that 'Knight' has a potential fatal-flaw in the supposedly wooden- acting of Christian Bale. Admittedly, his development is not as grand as in 'Begins' (yet that film gave us such a good psychoanalysis of Wayne, we hardly need more), yet what Bale pulls off is admirable. Wayne is not an eccentric personality. He is a disillusioned man who can hardly find any joy in having no family, giving up his love-interest and spending his life fighting a battle that may never end. He's dark and conflicted, and Bale plays up on that brooding-mood by making Wayne look as though a thousand dark-things were on his mind. He's not wooden...he's a humorless, quiet individual. Even when Wayne is acting as a frivolous playboy for the public, every now and then Bale offers us a powerful glance that reminds us its all a façade; that deep down, something more disturbed irks him. Occasionally he offers a broken-smile when exchanging banter with Alfred, letting us know that beyond the dour depression of the Caped-Crusader lies a damaged human-being. It is only in the guise of a growling masked-man, that he can unleash his true, ferocious personality.

Finally, who could forget Heath Ledger. Now, when he was first-announced for the part, I was (along with many other people) asking myself: "Why?". Mr. Ledger had proved with 'Brokeback Mountain' he could deliver a potent performance. But he hadn't before. It is only, after seeing this film, that I know the answer to 'why?': I see the significance of his loss.

When Heath appears in this movie, he is completely unrecognizable. His voice is distinctly-altered; a near-whiny, pedophile-like tone that sends shivers down the spine. His face is completely splattered with makeup that renders him both freakishly-nightmarish and strangely-funny. And when you see him, you don't think it's him. In this, his final performance, Ledger proved he was a chameleon. His two iconic performances in this, and 'Brokeback', could not be more different. I am convinced he could have been anything in his career. He commits so intensely to character that the line of actor/portrayal dies. His every tick and gesture only further-enhances his character. Heath never hams the role up or goes for something cheap: he delivers a fully-immersed display of psychotic madness...or do we just label him that to feel safer? The movie writes the character brilliantly; blending terrifying truth into his every social-accusation, and making us question why we laugh at his sick-jokes.

'The Dark Knight' has had an incredible-amount of hype running for it, from the get-go, mounting ever-higher, until Heath Ledger's too-soon death. And the finished-product does more than exceed all of the near-impossible expectations placed on it. It becomes something much richer than a super-hero-franchise-saga. Christopher Nolan has opened a new door in cinema: allowing action-flicks to become more serious, capable of intelligence. He has transformed this into a piece of artwork, full of beauty, terror, moral-conundrums. This movie has changed things...forever.

There's no going back. 10/10
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 102 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 11, 2008 11:52:23 AM PDT
Brilliantly done, Justin.

Posted on Oct 12, 2008 4:27:43 PM PDT
Paula Z. says:
Very well said.

Posted on Oct 24, 2008 8:05:49 AM PDT
Tom says:
Are you stupid or something? The product that the reviews are supposed to be for isn't even released and you are giving an in-depth review of it already? This isn't a place to review the movie itself, this is a place to review the actual Blu-ray PRODUCT. People want to know how good the video and audio quality is, we all know how good the movie itself is. Do you even know how to write a good review for a Blu-ray disc? You should equally cover the Video, Audio, Extras, and Movie...not JUST the movie. EPIC FAIL.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 7:19:35 PM PDT
Diana says:
He's reviewing the movie, which is what's being sold here, so shut up about it. The quality is going to be exactly the same as any other dvd or blue-ray, if you really want to read a review about the item then wait for it to come out for christ sake.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2008 3:40:37 PM PDT
Rob says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2008 2:32:05 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 16, 2011 7:29:43 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2008 8:17:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2008 8:22:16 AM PDT
Terry Chern says:
@Tom: You're totally right about this. I hate it when I go into a store to buy some new electronics and the salesman comes over and pitches the item by the things you can do with it and not its merits. If I wanted to know something as subjective as "24 looks AMAZING on this screen," or "It'll look great in your living room," or "The PINK one is the BEST" I'd go ask the opinion of a movie buff or an interior designer. I'm not here to listen to people rave about how good the movie was or why this actor did a horrible/amazing portrayal of a character based on some strange interpretation based off some obscure writer. I'm here to find out the merits of the item I'm trying to buy. In this case: How are the bonuses? What is the quality of the video? Are there any artifacts? Has anyone experienced any problems getting the disc to play? I'm interested in the practical aspects because this is a review of the DVD/Bluray DISK, not a review of the movie. Why would I even bother to look on Amazon for a movie review from a bunch of wannabe Ebert and Roeper scrubs when I can go directly to the source? Although he could have worded it more kindly, the point is that he is right. If you want to talk about the movie itself, make a discussion; keep the reviews for actually reviewing the product.

@L.B.: If anything, you're the one that comes across as dumb. You clearly don't understand the point of a "PRODUCT REVIEW." Furthermore, how does this being from the DVD set make any difference? It's the same damn movie and the review is just as sparse on the actual information regarding the DVDs. It's a movie review, and a crappy one at that. It's filled with superfluous words and a lot of contradictions and pointless digressions. This is a PRODUCT REVIEW, and seeing that there is no product yet, it is completely useless and unnecessary. Don't call other people dumb, lest you look a fool yourself.

Posted on Oct 27, 2008 8:44:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2008 9:07:59 PM PDT
tcclives23 says:
Yes for the love of god, if these guys say it, it must be true! Who gives a crap about the movie?! All that matters is the quality of the video and the audio and the amount of extras! So your going to tell me a movie is alright to buy as long as it looks and sounds good? Well heck I might as well go buy EPIC MOVIE! Oh as for the amazon sells the product comment, the movie is the frickin product! Amazon allows any customer to become informed about the product. That includes the quality of the product namely the movie! Yes of course picture and audio are big factors, but as you said it hasn't been released yet so there's no way we could possibly know. Hell even the Amazon editor has a chance to include his thoughts on the movie, why shouldn't we?

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 10:42:19 AM PST
JellyFish says:
If I wanted to read movie reviews, I would go to IMDb.com =/

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2008 12:10:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2008 12:11:38 PM PST
D. Stone says:
I agree also. This is a place for " product " reviews. Not movie reviews for those who desperately seek affirmation by placing their worth in the " vote % " by being the first reviewer. I hate feeling pitty for these kind, but I alway's do. Try reviewing the product, then let the chips fall as they may. You may not get 100% helpful votes, but at least they will ALL have value. Something you need to understand....quality over quantity. In other words......get a life. Unless your getting paid by Amazon, then I am wrong I guess.
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