Saturday, October 3, 2009

Batman, Yet Again

Back on Sept. 5 and 20, 2008 (look in the blog archives before reading this), I commented on The Dark Knight. This weekend, I watched the film again, and I gained an appreciation for it that simultaneously reinforced my view of its problems.

I watched it on my computer in half-hour chunks. This helped considerably, as I didn't have to see the movie as one giant block of narrative. One of my problems with the film is its novelistic structure: it's trying to do too much and gets somewhat lost doing it. This felt more evident on the big screen, where you're careening along and its easy to feel that something slipped past you. This time around, I appreciated how the Nolans did try to make a coherent argument. I still don't think it makes as much sense as they hoped, but by chopping the movie into pieces and viewing its pieces, the incoherence is actually less grating.

There remains the strange problem that Batman says "I'm going for Rachel" but ends up getting Dent. It was hard to be sure that he'd said that the first time around (that scratchy voice Bale uses is really a bad choice on somebody's part), but I confirmed it this time. So, does the Joker lie about who is where, knowing that Batman would choose to save the woman, which is who the Joker wants to kill? If so, fine, but at no point after these events does anyone say, "The Joker lied to us." When Dent is waving a gun around, why doesn't someone say, "The Joker set us up"?

It is an exciting film with solid direction. I think it should have gone in different directions, and some of its choices are baffling, but it's still a fine-looking movie, and it was nice to see Ledger's work again. (Really, all of the actors except Bale do great work; Bale is fine, but the script somehow hems him in.)

No comments: