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The Dark Knight

I purchased the movie, The Dark Knight, yesterday and watched it for the second time. The first time I saw it, I was on a long flight to Frankfurt and missed large portions because I fell asleep. This is the best movie I’ve seen in decades. Simply awesome. The writing the acting, the effects and cinematography. The only thing wrong was a few lapses in maintaining my suspension of disbelief. But, it is based on a comic book character afterall. Christian Bale’s real-life anger-management issues translate well to Batman’s character and Heath Ledger was great as the Joker.

The Joker doesnt play nice, even with fake Batmen...

The Joker doesn't play nice, even with fake Batmen...

There are so many good quotes in the movie that I think I’ll have a pen and pad near me the next time I watch it.

Here’s a few:

Joker, while he is Harvey Dent’s (as Two Face) hospital room: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”

Neal Adams wrote and drew Batman when I was a kid.

Still the best: Neal Adams wrote and drew Batman when I was a kid.

Two Face, while holding James Gordon’s son hostage and confronting Batman: “You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time! You were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbyist, unprejudiced… fair. His son’s got the same chance she had, 50/50.”


Batman, talking to Alfred about letting the truth about Harvey Dent’s murders, out to the public; Batman thinks  the truth ought to be hidden: “Because sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes, people deserve more .”

Batman: “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things because I’m not a hero, like Dent…I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be.”

The Joker: “You know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”

Alfred, to Batman: “Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

The are tons more. I began to see the movie as an allegory for America’s place in the world and the War on Terror. The Joker is a terrorist of the worst kind. He’s into terror for terror’s sake. He can’t be appeased. There’s no goal that will halt is aggression. He simply likes chaos.

Batman is America, Gotham the post-modern world–dark and full of frightful truths. The Joker wants Batman to unmask himself or he’ll continue to murder people around the city. Gotham’s citizens begin to call for the arrest of Batman, thinking this will end the Reign of Terror. The movie ends, after Two Face gut-shoots Batman. Batman runs away as the police chase him. He’s fought crime the only way he knows how. He’s faced the evil which others can only talk about from Ivory Towers. Dirty and dying, chased by the authorities, he jumps on his motorcycle and makes an escape. Alfred says: Batman’s no hero…he’s a Dark Knight.

Alfred Pennyworth capped the allegory, with Batman as America: “Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.”

America has done what it needed to, like Batman. It fought evil while everyone else watched and complained. It got dirty because fighting evil is a dirty business, not the business of the pipe-smoking intelligencia or starry-eyed journalists. Real men fight evil.

There was more real-life truth–raw truth– in this movie than maybe in any other I’ve ever seen. Normally to me, Hollywood is a joke. A huge charicature of itself. Cliche’, badly acted movies make up the normal selection of this summers greatest hits. But not this time. Someone actually gets it. I’ll be back for the next one, ’cause this one had grit.

Please, please, please don’t screw up the Watchmen, Frank Miller.

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