The Dark Knight

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The Dark Knight
Review (9.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

One of the most anticipated movies of the year is now upon us and I'm just here to assure everyone of one thing - everything you have heard about "The Dark Knight" is absolutely, 100% true. This is an outstanding movie from beginning to end. Right from the opening scene where The Joker orchestrates a brutal bank robbery to the ending scenes where we see him gleefully hanging out the window of a police car, the world of movies does not get much better than this. If you really want to get picky, I'm sure you can find a few problems here and there with director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to 2005's "Batman Begins" but most of the problems with "The Dark Knight" will soon be forgotten. This movie is one for the ages. Once I see a film, I usually don't have the urge to see it immediately afterwards, but I can guarantee I will be doing my best to see "The Dark Knight" again this weekend. It is that good.

Most discussions about "The Dark Knight" will begin and end with Heath Ledger. There is only one word I can think of to describe his performance - mesmerizing. You will hang at every word he says. Your eyes will be glued to the screen every time he appears. You will try to dissect and analyze him - but you will fail. This is not a normal portrayal that you will see. In fact, if we did not know it was Heath Ledger playing The Joker, we may not even realize it was him. Ledger became The Joker in this movie and his Joker was out of this world. It is without a doubt the best villain depiction we have seen since Anthony Hopkins became Hannibal Lecter in 1991. Even Nicholson's Joker cannot hold a light to Ledger. At the time, Nicholson's performance was considered groundbreaking, but Ledger puts the 1989 version to shame. This Joker did not dance around the screen to Prince songs and give pretty girls flowers. He is a ruthless killer and a crazy yet brilliant villain. There is not a moment in this movie where he isn't two steps ahead of anyone else, including Batman. It was simply superb but at the same time sad - sad that we will never see a follow up performance from this splendid actor. Sad that the world lost him at such a young age...

Besides Ledger, TDK is blessed with a glorious cast. Whether it be Christain Bale's Bruce Wayne and his powerful, yet disturbed, Batman, Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent and his terrifying Two-Face, Gary Oldman's "Ned Flander-ish" Commissioner Gordon or Michael Caine's Alfred Pennyworth, there is not a single actor or actress that does not carry his or her weight in this movie. Make no mistake, however - this is Heath Ledger's movie. I have to say one thing, however, I noticed Anthony Michael Hall's name in the credits. It's rumoured he is going to eventually, somewhere down the road, show up as The Riddler - but I did not notice him at all in the movie. I'm hoping to notice him during my second viewing.

The action in The Dark Knight is thrilling - whether it be Batman's nose dive from the skylines of Hong Kong or the tractor trailer flipping end-over-end on the streets of Gotham. There are many shocking moments, even a few that might make you jump in your seat. It's funny at times and frightening at others. "The Dark Knight" is the complete package.

I'm really not sure what else to say. Whether I speak highly of "The Dark Knight" or not, most of the movie-loving world will be seeing it within the next 2-5 days - at least once. Expect TDK to break records. Then when it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, expect it to break more. It will all be well-deserved. "The Dark Knight" will end up front and centre of most movie collections in the world soon enough. But for now, enjoy your weekend watching the best movie, so far, of 2008 and one of the best individual performances that you may see in your lifetime.


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