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The Dark Knight


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It's not about Sept 11, but it reflects the current climate in a number of ways. Off the top of my head:

The sonar surveillance thing is like the proliferation of CCTV. For our safety or a dangerous precedent?

Batman kidnaps someone from another country with the knowledge of the authorities, much like the US has started doing since September 11.

The Joker is a terrorist who targets innocent people in an attempt to spread fear and destroy their way of life.

The forces of good (Batman, Gordon and Dent) are pushed to go beyond the law in an attempt to safeguard the city, and as a result risk further damaging the society they are trying to protect.

Plus there are scenes of beatings of prisoners, civillian buildings being blown up, that sort of thing.

Didn't all that happen before 9/11? There were certainly lots of stuff about CCTV long before it. Joker has always been up to that sort of stuff, no? As for Batman and his relationship with the authorities, well that's always been them sort of turning a blind eye to him not being entirely legal.

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It's not about Sept 11, but it reflects the current climate in a number of ways. Off the top of my head:

The sonar surveillance thing is like the proliferation of CCTV. For our safety or a dangerous precedent?

Batman kidnaps someone from another country with the knowledge of the authorities, much like the US has started doing since September 11.

The Joker is a terrorist who targets innocent people in an attempt to spread fear and destroy their way of life.

The forces of good (Batman, Gordon and Dent) are pushed to go beyond the law in an attempt to safeguard the city, and as a result risk further damaging the society they are trying to protect.

Plus there are scenes of beatings of prisoners, civillian buildings being blown up, that sort of thing.

Yes, but that's not just reflecting the "current" climate. It's been going on forever. It just gets more press coverage these days.

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But it makes the film more relevant, the fact that these things are prominent in people's minds the moment. Which is a good thing isn't it?? It made me think.

I don't think the film is (generally) overt with these things, but they do chime.

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Except Batman is the biggest terrorist of all :lol:

Anyway I thought it was awesome and my only critisism was that I though two face was too cartoony if anything. Especially after getting changed from the hospital back into a suit that was burnt on one side. While I though the Joker worked really well the look of Two face was just going a little too far (IMO of course)

Coming back to comments made about Gordon brushing off Dent about the people he'd chosen for his unit. I got the impression that when everyone is corrupt (as claimed in the first film) then Gordon would rather have people that he knew had been naughty for some reason over people he didn't know a thing about.

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I believe that Batman is merely dressed in the clothes of 911, Guantanamo, Iraq, surveillance, terrorism, etc, without any ideas about what to say about them. It's far more successful as a superhero blockbuster than as an intelligent political thriller. Maybe it's OK to appropriate the imagery without doing much with the subject matter, but I was a little bit uncomfortable with it.

Have you listened to the last edition of The Film Programme on R4? If not, you should, because the interviewer is clearly of the same mind as you and pursues Nolan in an interview on these issues. Nolan says he recognises echoes of the film's themes and events in the post 9/11 real world, but asserts that he didn't make them 'knowingly' or as some form of commentary. He does eventually admit to the interrogation/torture scene being a knowing comment, though, with it being made clear that the torture method isn't successful for Batman.

I agree with you: if he put that in deliberately to make a comment, there's no way that scenes of extraordinary rendition, the rule of democracy/law/due process/Dent vs the rule of secrecy/shock and awe/force/Batman, were put in 'accidentally' and just happen to be things you always get in superhero movies that just happen now to have numerous echoes in real events. I think Nolan sounded disingenuous in the interview, and he had to half-heartedly dismiss any deliberate parallels to in order to seem to remain safe and 'neutral' to The Bizness on the matter. Interestingly, it's followed by an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal, who more or less states that the film does address those themes deliberately because the only way to reach an audience who aren't already 'on your side' and make them think about the issues is to wrap them in a big, money-making film. The interviewer concludes by saying that TDK "is a film of thrilling scale, power, and craziness, but rather confused about what any of its images might actually mean".

To me, the strength and number of those images and themes said that the film deliberately dealt with them, but that it only did so successfully on a visual, visceral level. Apart from occasionally, TDK seemed not so much ambiguous in the clever way that Gyllenhaal suggested, but more simply unsure of itself in how to resolve the contradictions without causing consternation (Batman senses that his way is not the right way, and steps down to the democratic, due-process Dent, but the film actually shows that Dent is useless at dealing with the anarcho-terrorist Joker and only Batman's way is in the end effective. In the end this is 'resolved' basically by Batman continuing in his Black Ops ways (as he must, as a superhero and a franchise) whilst constructing a lie about the Good Democrat that allows the general populace to keep faith in its leaders and in the 'goodness' of its society. That's contradictory rather than ambiguous, to my mind, unless you subscribe to the view that people are like mushrooms and should be kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Nolan clearly doesn't feel this.)

I don't think Nolan can come out and say that in public, but I think it's evidently there. And I don't think some of what the film says is really what Nolan wants to say (look at his obvious and avowed anti-torture scene for example of his natural intent), but it's the best way he could shoehorn it into a Batman film. I don't think it works (the torture is 'bad', but the extraordinary rendition is 'good' - there's the incoherence again), and this is partly why I felt the attempt to shoehorn real emotional and social themes into the film wasn't altogether successful. Nolan was constrained by the limitations of the genre, and his themes got a bit mixed up as a result.

For what it's worth, this didn't put me off the film in the way it did you in part - I didn't feel uncomfortable with it at all really - but it did make me feel the film was less than successful. It's just too unsubtle, by definition, to carry all this stuff, and be a great Batman at the same time.

So, yes, it is a great Batman movie. But it also skirted with being something more than that, and at a more than surface level - where the explosions and the brutality, and the echoes of real tragedy had a rawness that elevated it above other superhero movies - it didn't succeed. Because it really couldn't. Some might not care two hoots about that, but they can't dismiss it out of hand nor discussion of this aspect of the film; if only because they've benefited greatly in the dramatic action stakes from its inclusion. And I don't think you can sensibly deny it's there, unless you're blind or open to the notion of infinite coincidence.

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I'm sure that final scene with Batman and Gordon discussing what to do about Dent, and Gordon's voiceover, was something that Nolan would have preferred to do without. It's amazingly clumsy compared to the earlier dialogue scenes, and does seem to be a product of the type of film The Dark Knight has to be. Compare with the end of Watchmen, which totally breaks with genre conventions.

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Anyway I thought it was awesome and my only critisism was that I though two face was too cartoony if anything. Especially after getting changed from the hospital back into a suit that was burnt on one side. While I though the Joker worked really well the look of Two face was just going a little too far (IMO of course)

well there's a reason for that 'cartoony' look. Anything more 'realistic' would have easily pushed the film up into an 'R' rating. It had to be PG13. It's interesting because this film released in 1989 surely would have been an 18 in this country?

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Have you listened to the last edition of The Film Programme on R4? If not, you should, because the interviewer is clearly of the same mind as you and pursues Nolan in an interview on these issues. Nolan says he recognises echoes of the film's themes and events in the post 9/11 real world, but asserts that he didn't make them 'knowingly' or as some form of commentary. He does eventually admit to the interrogation/torture scene being a knowing comment, though, with it being made clear that the torture method isn't successful for Batman.

I agree with you: if he put that in deliberately to make a comment, there's no way that scenes of extraordinary rendition, the rule of democracy/law/due process/Dent vs the rule of secrecy/shock and awe/force/Batman, were put in 'accidentally' and just happen to be things you always get in superhero movies that just happen now to have numerous echoes in real events. I think Nolan sounded disingenuous in the interview, and he had to half-heartedly dismiss any deliberate parallels to in order to seem to remain safe and 'neutral' to The Bizness on the matter. Interestingly, it's followed by an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal, who more or less states that the film does address those themes deliberately because the only way to reach an audience who aren't already 'on your side' and make them think about the issues is to wrap them in a big, money-making film. The interviewer concludes by saying that TDK "is a film of thrilling scale, power, and craziness, but rather confused about what any of its images might actually mean".

To me, the strength and number of those images and themes said that the film deliberately dealt with them, but that it only did so successfully on a visual, visceral level. Apart from occasionally, TDK seemed not so much ambiguous in the clever way that Gyllenhaal suggested, but more simply unsure of itself in how to resolve the contradictions without causing consternation (Batman senses that his way is not the right way, and steps down to the democratic, due-process Dent, but the film actually shows that Dent is useless at dealing with the anarcho-terrorist Joker and only Batman's way is in the end effective. In the end this is 'resolved' basically by Batman continuing in his Black Ops ways (as he must, as a superhero and a franchise) whilst constructing a lie about the Good Democrat that allows the general populace to keep faith in its leaders and in the 'goodness' of its society. That's contradictory rather than ambiguous, to my mind, unless you subscribe to the view that people are like mushrooms and should be kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Nolan clearly doesn't feel this.)

I don't think Nolan can come out and say that in public, but I think it's evidently there. And I don't think some of what the film says is really what Nolan wants to say (look at his obvious and avowed anti-torture scene for example of his natural intent), but it's the best way he could shoehorn it into a Batman film. I don't think it works (the torture is 'bad', but the extraordinary rendition is 'good' - there's the incoherence again), and this is partly why I felt the attempt to shoehorn real emotional and social themes into the film wasn't altogether successful. Nolan was constrained by the limitations of the genre, and his themes got a bit mixed up as a result.

For what it's worth, this didn't put me off the film in the way it did you in part - I didn't feel uncomfortable with it at all really - but it did make me feel the film was less than successful. It's just too unsubtle, by definition, to carry all this stuff, and be a great Batman at the same time.

So, yes, it is a great Batman movie. But it also skirted with being something more than that, and at a more than surface level - where the explosions and the brutality, and the echoes of real tragedy had a rawness that elevated it above other superhero movies - it didn't succeed. Because it really couldn't. Some might not care two hoots about that, but they can't dismiss it out of hand nor discussion of this aspect of the film; if only because they've benefited greatly in the dramatic action stakes from its inclusion. And I don't think you can sensibly deny it's there, unless you're blind or open to the notion of infinite coincidence.

Did he say anything about the school buses?

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I don't think this is a particularly well written article I believe that Batman is merely dressed in the clothes of 911, Guantanamo, Iraq, surveillance, terrorism, etc, without any ideas about what to say about them.

It is cringe-worthy sometimes, especially when it's so blatantly overt and crass. The hostage videos spring to mind.

At least it's done slightly better than in Cloverfield that seemed to mix 9/11 imagery with not very good spoofery and inappropriate dodgy slapstick.

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I don't think Nolan can come out and say that in public, but I think it's evidently there. And I don't think some of what the film says is really what Nolan wants to say (look at his obvious and avowed anti-torture scene for example of his natural intent), but it's the best way he could shoehorn it into a Batman film. I don't think it works (the torture is 'bad', but the extraordinary rendition is 'good' - there's the incoherence again), and this is partly why I felt the attempt to shoehorn real emotional and social themes into the film wasn't altogether successful. Nolan was constrained by the limitations of the genre, and his themes got a bit mixed up as a result.

The mixed messages were not something I really noticed but I'm looking forward to seeing the film for a second time at the weekend so I can give more time to the subtext. I'm not totally convinced that the film says rendition is good though. Perhaps I am remembering the film incorrectly but Lau's rendition causes all sorts of problems. With him back in Gotham the Joker kills the main witness who can help bring down many of the gangs but he also ceases total control. They may have used rendition as a force for good but it quickly turned out to have a major negative impact on the city.

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I'm not totally convinced that the film says rendition is good though. Perhaps I am remembering the film incorrectly but Lau's rendition causes all sorts of problems. With him back in Gotham the Joker kills the main witness who can help bring down many of the gangs but he also ceases total control. They may have used rendition as a force for good but it quickly turned out to have a major negative impact on the city.

I initially thought that, but you can't really trace a cause-and-effect line between those two things. Initially, Lau's kidnap allows Dent to get a massive proportion of Gotham's crims off thes streets, so it works a treat. It's only the Joker who fucks it all up.

The issue is addressed more subtly by Bruce Wayne's desire to end all these dubious shenanigans and pass the mantle onto someone who does things by the book.

In any case, this little issue is handled in a much better way than the mass-surveillance thing, which has Morgan "Always Right" Freeman telling the audience that the device Wayne has made is 'wrong'.

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Have you listened to the last edition of The Film Programme on R4? If not, you should, because the interviewer is clearly of the same mind as you and pursues Nolan in an interview on these issues. Nolan says he recognises echoes of the film's themes and events in the post 9/11 real world, but asserts that he didn't make them 'knowingly' or as some form of commentary. He does eventually admit to the interrogation/torture scene being a knowing comment, though, with it being made clear that the torture method isn't successful for Batman.

Well worth listening to, that. Thanks Gorf.

Here's the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00cnrh8/

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Watched it was a bit too long, did not like the 'sonar' crap. Apart from that pretty great film but definitely super over hyped due to Ledgers death.

Also why is it called the Dark Knight - he basically is the same Batman in the first right? I thought he would have actually done something darker i.e. kill the Joker

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Watched it was a bit too long, did not like the 'sonar' crap. Apart from that pretty great film but definitely super over hyped due to Ledgers death.

Also why is it called the Dark Knight - he basically is the same Batman in the first right? I thought he would have actually done something darker i.e. kill the Joker

Batman's known in comics as the 'Dark Knight' amongst other things but in the film it was used to mirror him and Dent's White Knight as protectors of Gotham (showing what he would do to protect the city, at the end they decided to keep Dent's image clean and leave all of the murders and bad stuff to Batman)

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Have you listened to the last edition of The Film Programme on R4? If not, you should, because the interviewer is clearly of the same mind as you and pursues Nolan in an interview on these issues. Nolan says he recognises echoes of the film's themes and events in the post 9/11 real world, but asserts that he didn't make them 'knowingly' or as some form of commentary. He does eventually admit to the interrogation/torture scene being a knowing comment, though, with it being made clear that the torture method isn't successful for Batman.

I agree with you: if he put that in deliberately to make a comment, there's no way that scenes of extraordinary rendition, the rule of democracy/law/due process/Dent vs the rule of secrecy/shock and awe/force/Batman, were put in 'accidentally' and just happen to be things you always get in superhero movies that just happen now to have numerous echoes in real events. I think Nolan sounded disingenuous in the interview, and he had to half-heartedly dismiss any deliberate parallels to in order to seem to remain safe and 'neutral' to The Bizness on the matter. Interestingly, it's followed by an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal, who more or less states that the film does address those themes deliberately because the only way to reach an audience who aren't already 'on your side' and make them think about the issues is to wrap them in a big, money-making film. The interviewer concludes by saying that TDK "is a film of thrilling scale, power, and craziness, but rather confused about what any of its images might actually mean".

To me, the strength and number of those images and themes said that the film deliberately dealt with them, but that it only did so successfully on a visual, visceral level. Apart from occasionally, TDK seemed not so much ambiguous in the clever way that Gyllenhaal suggested, but more simply unsure of itself in how to resolve the contradictions without causing consternation (Batman senses that his way is not the right way, and steps down to the democratic, due-process Dent, but the film actually shows that Dent is useless at dealing with the anarcho-terrorist Joker and only Batman's way is in the end effective. In the end this is 'resolved' basically by Batman continuing in his Black Ops ways (as he must, as a superhero and a franchise) whilst constructing a lie about the Good Democrat that allows the general populace to keep faith in its leaders and in the 'goodness' of its society. That's contradictory rather than ambiguous, to my mind, unless you subscribe to the view that people are like mushrooms and should be kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Nolan clearly doesn't feel this.)

I don't think Nolan can come out and say that in public, but I think it's evidently there. And I don't think some of what the film says is really what Nolan wants to say (look at his obvious and avowed anti-torture scene for example of his natural intent), but it's the best way he could shoehorn it into a Batman film. I don't think it works (the torture is 'bad', but the extraordinary rendition is 'good' - there's the incoherence again), and this is partly why I felt the attempt to shoehorn real emotional and social themes into the film wasn't altogether successful. Nolan was constrained by the limitations of the genre, and his themes got a bit mixed up as a result.

For what it's worth, this didn't put me off the film in the way it did you in part - I didn't feel uncomfortable with it at all really - but it did make me feel the film was less than successful. It's just too unsubtle, by definition, to carry all this stuff, and be a great Batman at the same time.

So, yes, it is a great Batman movie. But it also skirted with being something more than that, and at a more than surface level - where the explosions and the brutality, and the echoes of real tragedy had a rawness that elevated it above other superhero movies - it didn't succeed. Because it really couldn't. Some might not care two hoots about that, but they can't dismiss it out of hand nor discussion of this aspect of the film; if only because they've benefited greatly in the dramatic action stakes from its inclusion. And I don't think you can sensibly deny it's there, unless you're blind or open to the notion of infinite coincidence.

I think that's a quite elegant commentary and I would be inclined to agree with. It's clear there are themes of rule of law/democracy and so on within the film but they are at a superficial level. That's not to necessarily take away from the film and it does at least touch on these issues.

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I think that's a quite elegant commentary and I would be inclined to agree with. It's clear there are themes of rule of law/democracy and so on within the film but they are at a superficial level. That's not to necessarily take away from the film and it does at least touch on these issues.

I don't think they are "superficial". I think the film is aware of them, but doesn't claim to have the answers. It largely leaves the moral judgments to the viewer. Far more satisfying than preaching.

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In any case, this little issue is handled in a much better way than the mass-surveillance thing, which has Morgan "Always Right" Freeman telling the audience that the device Wayne has made is 'wrong'.

Yeah I did not like Freeman commenting on that as he has been helping Batman break X number of laws. Who is he to judge where the line to draw is?

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I think at least there's a lack of subtlety in terms of the questions of morality, law and order, rule of law et al. Even if the moral judgements are left to the viewer, the film does present them as rather obvious choices (e.g. the two ships) and even to an extent does cast its own judgement (Lucius Fox, CCTV/phone bank). I think that's what I mean by superficial. It's not necessarily to the detriment of the film. I think I'm also of course perhaps unfairly comparing a summer blockbuster (and a great one at that) with something a bit more subtle, ambiguous and layered like The Wire. On that note, it strikes me that Zack Snyder does indeed have a hell of a job on his hands with respect to The Watchmen.

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I think at least there's a lack of subtlety in terms of the questions of morality, law and order, rule of law et al. Even if the moral judgements are left to the viewer, the film does present them as rather obvious choices (e.g. the two ships) and even to an extent does cast its own judgement (Lucius Fox, CCTV/phone bank).

Fair point about the phone bank. But I think the point is that the Joker presents stark choices, and the film asks questions in the context of those stark choices. Bruce choses the selfish option in attempting to save the girl he is in love with and is punished for it.

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Theater Manager Brian Willoughby told Newschannel 3 that he saw the costumed vandal trying to take off with a nine-foot poster that he'd ripped off the wall, and wrestled him to the ground. Police showed up soon after and took Taylor into custody.

Willoughby also told Newschannel 3 that this joker had missed he casting call.

Last week, the theater held a poster give away for the best joker impersonator. No one in costume showed up.

Proper funny, that. I'm just going to pretend that they haven't twisted the facts and it's good journalism.

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RE: 911/Modern day terrorism comparisons with TDK.

While I recognise certain parallels with 911 and terrorism and all that media tosh that's so prevalent these days, this kind of opinion regarding The Dark Knight is borne of ignorance I'm afraid.

All you have to do is read any of the comics that were directly used for adapting the film, and some surrounding them (10-30 year old works, some of them). You'll soon realise that these parallels are 99% coincidence. Especially the 'torture' scenes. That's absolute rubbish. Batman has been locking the Joker in police cells and thrashing him for years!

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