Sunday, July 27, 2008

Troy Wilson on Dark Knight (Comment Pull Quote)

In the comments to the post about the Dark Knight this week Troy wrote:

The problem wasn't that every sandwich could have a bomb in it. The problem was every sandwich did have a bomb in it.

The context of that is my revised opinion on the film, which am going to re-write here:

There is a lot to like in the Dark Knight. I thought the reports of Ledger were being overblown because of his death but I was wrong: he is worth the price of admission, and there are great moments even when he is not around, including the motorcycle v truck street fight, the interrogation room scene, and the prisoner's ferry. But the pacing is kind of a disaster. In Tim Burton's Batman there is a cute scene where Vale and Wayne ditch the huge dining hall and go have a sandwich in the kitchen. Nolan's Batman cannot have a scene like that without putting a bomb in the sandwich. It would be possible to do a good Batman movie with a two and a half hour run time, but by never giving the audience a moment of down time, the film feels four and a half hours long.


briang said...

I agree that the sandwich scene in Burton's film showed a side of Wayne that is completely absent from the Nolan films, but other than that scene, Keaton's Wayne is just as brooding and under developed in the 1989 Batman. The film is dominated by Nicholson's Joker, with the plot( if you can call it that) centering around his origin. I'm a fan of both the Dark Knight and Batman, but I don't think you can knock the pacing of the former without acknowledging the pacing problems of the latter, or the lack thereof of developed characters or a coherent plot.
I realize that your revised review wasn't meant to simply compare the two films, but it seems like too many people are acting like Burton's Batman was flawless, which isn't the case at all. I don't mean to imply that you are calling that film flawless, but just because it has that fantastic sandwich scene doesn't put it above Nolan's film, in my own opinion.

pastormike said...

I didnt think I would like the new joker charachter, I was happy with Jack Nichalas.
But Heath really reinvented the charachter. Oh but before I forget I wanted to tell everyone I just saw a video of Christain Bale having a really bad argument with his mom, alot of cussing and meanness. Think it was a home movie. I think the link is at

You should go see it. Its pretty crazy.

Mikey said...

I don't want to run the risk of going on about this when the discussion's run its natural course (as they do), so I'll remove a lot of what I wanted to say in full.

(This is part of something much longer that I wrote in an email to someone else re the casting of Eric Roberts, which was of some early concern for Geoff and others, although, happily, people moved off from there onto deeper and more deserving matters. It was part of a list of the good and bad things in the movie):

Good good good x a billion and forgive me if I go on a bit here was Eric Roberts and lots of the C-list casting. It's the influence of the pulps and the Batman animated series and it really worked for me.

So named on the poster you have all this talent: Bale, Caine, Oldman (who is amazing and even fricking looks like a drawing in this), Ledger, Freeman. These are the 'flagship' high profile characters that populate Batman's universe. But in the comics and movies you've always had lesser figures: gangsters, wiseguys, grizzled types, sometimes overtly freakish, sometimes human but always faintly grotesque or characterful/memorable. There's always a hook to them, often an incongruity. This is important because it makes the Batman mythos distinct and is a unique retention of the pulp origins not just of Batman but all superheroes (it's also one of the few things Burton's 2 Batman movies got right - the world of carnival freak shows, spectacular stunts, circus strongmen). It's also there in the difference I've always loved between characters referring to him as The Bat-Man (urban legend) and Batman (superhero, brand). The whole world has to be made up of 'types' that carry with them the pulp carnival.

This is where Eric Roberts'll either work for you as a viewer or undermine the whole attempt at seriousness - How to suggest this in your big movie? Cast a bunch of instantly recognisable "That Guys" who look like cartoon characters brought to life (Michael Jai White, William Fichtner, the great Ron Dean). These are the guys who'll never be on the poster, the inverse of all your good-looking, ridiculously well paid lead actors. The incongruous and the underside of the movie business. They also all play underworld- or underbelly-type characters. It's like a hypertelic version of Tom Wilkinson's gangster in Batman Begins who looks like he's appeared from out of a different movie entirely - a 1930s gangster flick. This is perfectly in keeping with the Batman aesthetic, which the writers of the Batman animated series knew instinctively. Batman Begins, lest we forget, also featured Rutger Hauer and Colin Macfarlane, who English viewers know from the goddam Fast Show!! And now, TV's Eric Roberts as the boss of a crime syndicate. Garish.

Hence: of course Dark Knight's Gotham City has a Mayor who looks like he's wearing eyeliner the whole time.

Geoff Klock said...

Mikey: This is brilliant. I would like to put this up tomorrow as its own post.

Mikey said...

Geoff - go ahead. I don't have to give permission do I?

Further to Troy's quote (which I am totally going to steal) - to boot, there is a bomb in every sandwich, and they all go off. Hitchcock would've hated it.

ChuckPeterka said...

Who was the Prisoner that took the Trigger for the Bomb and threw it out the window? That was Awesome !! A real Thinker!! Great Line...
I'll do what you should have done 10 minutes ago .