Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hey, How About That, I Saw Another Movie

A movie in the theater, that is. Twice in one year: I'm on a real roll.

Because I am a sheep, I went to see the Dark Knight. I didn't see Batman Begins, so I'm not being religious about the franchise. But I do sometimes like adaptations of comic books, and I do love the humanness of Batman and the possibilities that creates for a character. He's got no superpowers, no superior moral compass. He's just a broken man with a large R&D budget, initially propelled on his mission by vengeance. And as in my favorite sci-fi Whedon-verses, the line between the good guys and the bad guys is fluid, and the heroes are just a decision away from crossing it, regardless of intentions.

The cast was superb. Heath Ledger deserves all the praise that he's getting for his turn as the Joker. He's absolutely terrifying as a tool of pure anarchy. He has no boundaries, so every scene he's in is transfixing. The suspense is agonizing while you're waiting for the unexpected, violent, yet whimsical twist.

And overall, the movie was well done (if very, very violent). It poses some interesting, and timely, questions about the limits of power in a time of perceived siege and terror. Does Jack Bauer have it right, and are we reliant on the goodness of (one) man to save us? Or are we all too corruptible? Is there a system that can work, or is it forever destined to be manipulated by the people inside of it?

As a side note, the movie was filmed on location in Chicago, and they didn't do much at all to disguise the obvious recognizability of the city. I found this amusing ("hey, I had jury duty there!") and a bit distracting. And as a further side note, way back, I got a flier from some dude in the el to be an extra, I think for this movie. But the appropriate weary-of-it-all metropolitan-denizen response is to roll one's eyes and toss the flier into the recycling bin, while muttering about the inconvenience of the goddamned filming crews and equipment shutting down streets. Heh.

LATER. Slideshow here of location filming.

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