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RE: The Dark Knight

 
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RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 1:14:23 AM   
chris kilby

 

Posts: 1261
Joined: 31/3/2010
Here's a good one.

Am I right in thinking that when The Joker tells The Batman where Rachel and Harvey are, he deliberately mixes up the locations cos he knows The Batman will go after Rachel first? (When Gordon asks who he's going after, he growls "Rachel!" Doesn't he?) I think The Joker does this cos he's more or less sussed that Bruce is Bats - it's that line "I used to think you were Dent..." (my italics).

It's a great scene and a terrific turnaround/sleight-of-hand reminiscent of that scene in The Silence of the Lambs when we're hoodwinked into thinking the SWAT team's about to nab the killer. And when Harvey cries "No! Not me!" I think The Batman is secretly crying just that inside. He didn't want to save Harvey. He wanted to save Rachel.

And I just thought of another influence on The Dark Knight - The Krays! It's all that ickily squirm-inducing business with the knives in the mouth. Oh, and that first ever shot of The Joker which was released (the one that now adorns disc two of the bluray) clearly evokes Col Kurtz from Apocalypse Now - The horror... The horror...

(in reply to chris kilby)
Post #: 1141
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 1:19:50 AM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
The Joker doesn't need to know Batman is Bruce. All he needed to note was that Batman went for her without thinking. In his mind he figures out that she is important to him.

In fact the whole Coleman Reese subplot is about the Joker no longer wishing to know who Batman is. It is pretty much established that Wayne wanted to save Rachel. Heck, Harvey wanted Batman to save Rachel.

< Message edited by Rgirvan44 -- 23/8/2012 1:20:40 AM >


_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


(in reply to chris kilby)
Post #: 1142
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 6:54:03 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54575
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44

The Joker doesn't need to know Batman is Bruce. All he needed to note was that Batman went for her without thinking. In his mind he figures out that she is important to him.

In fact the whole Coleman Reese subplot is about the Joker no longer wishing to know who Batman is. It is pretty much established that Wayne wanted to save Rachel. Heck, Harvey wanted Batman to save Rachel.


This. He doesn't know. He also doesn't really care.


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 1143
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 9:28:36 AM   
Wild about Wilder


Posts: 1652
Joined: 9/4/2010
From: Hertfordshire
I went to see it again with my friend the other day, who I always thought was a bit of an idiot (it's ok as he thinks he's one too) & he pointed out how did they get all the motorbikes in the Gotham Stock Exchange without anyone seeing as don't think they'd have time before the Police response & to be brutily honest I couldn't come up with an answer?
Stupid I Know just wonder if anyone else knows as can't get his DAMN! question out of my head!

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 1144
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 9:34:49 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54575
Joined: 1/10/2005
Hate to point this out, but wrong thread! The old film thread got bumped too

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Wild about Wilder)
Post #: 1145
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 10:55:49 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: chris kilby

A much more open, expansive and epic film than Batman Begins even, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight boldly announces from its opening shot that this is a very different beast. There’s more daylight for a start. Shot almost entirely on location (in the glass and steel canyons of Chicago) Wally Pfister’s stunning photography is genuinely awe-inspiring – the key action sequences shot on IMAX so sharp you could cut yourself just looking at them!

The Dark Knight is even more “realistic” than the often set-bound Batman Begins was. For where Batman Begins wasn’t entirely divorced from the comic book fantasy of Tim Burton’s films (albeit without the Mock-Goth excess), The Dark Knight is more akin to a Michael Mann crime epic. Specifically, Heat, with Pacino dressed as a bat and DeNiro in clown make-up. (Let’s face it – he’s done worse!)

The Dark Knight actively invites such comparisons by the – surely deliberate – presence of William Fichtner. (That Nolan is prepared to “throw away” such a fine actor in what is little more a cameo role shows just how well-cast his films are.) Some of Hans Zimmer’s music even sounds like (Bat-alumnus) Elliot Goldenthal’s Heat score. Especially during that scene (and tone) setting bank heist.

Nolan shoots “Gotham” with the same care and attention Michael Mann lavishes on his beloved LA. And like Mann, this film has a real sense of place. But Heat isn’t the only modern crime classic The Dark Knight is beholden to. The masterfully orchestrated Godfather-like montages throughout are operatic in their sweep and intensity, again helped no end by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s majestic score.

Batman Begins was essentially Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. So is The Dark Knight to a lesser extent - especially the final, er, face-off. But it is also Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween. (“Batman: Year Two,” basically. No hang on a minute. There already was a Batman: Year Two, wasn’t there? It was rubbish!) And it owes a huge debt to one of the great unsung heroes of comics, Denny O’Neil. Not only did he create Batman Begins’ big bad, Ra’s al Ghul, it was his and Neal Adams’ classic run in the early 1970s which rescued Batman from the camp ignominy of the 60s TV show and probably oblivion too, turning The Caped Crusader into The Dark Knight in the process – a name he coined, I believe. The Dark Knight ditches a lot of Batman Begins’ more outré comic book elements. Like Denny O’Neil’s Batman, this Dark Knight has temporarily forsaken The Batcave and operates out of his downtown Gotham penthouse - shades of Doc Savage there, too, I think.

But The Dark Knight is ultimately Alan Moore’s (overrated) The Killing Joke, albeit on an epic if not mythic scale. For The Dark Knight presents The Joker as almost an urban legend, elevating his titanic struggle with The Batman to the level of modern myth – The Clash of The Jungian Archetypes, if you will. Yes, The Dark Knight is even more self-consciously symbol-laden than Batman Begins was. No, wait – come back! This is powerful, literally Classic storytelling.

Shabby, shuffling and lank-haired with more than a whiff of “homeless chic” about him, Heath Ledger’s Mephistophelean Joker is more a Manichean force of nature than a real flesh and blood character. And a seemingly omniscient if not omnipresent Manichean force of nature at that. Was it my imagination, or did The Joker imply that he suspected Batman was Bruce Wayne, but didn’t care?

(Prescient, too. When The Joker torches that money it looks remarkably like a metaphor for what the banks were busy doing to the global economy when The Dark Knight was released. What was it Ra’s al Ghul said about using economics as a weapon, again? Introduce a little anarchy? You can flippin’ well say that again!)

A nihilistic “agent of chaos” (with an explicit death wish) and a mad “dog chasing cars,” (he even looks like a dog when he’s hanging out the window of that police car) The Joker is The Lord of Misrule. A truly protean figure and the real stuff of primal nightmares. And no, I don’t know what any of that means either. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

No name, no history, and nothing in his pockets but knives and lint, Ledger’s Joker lacks even the cursory background and character “development” of the Jack Nicholson version. But leaving no record of any sort in this day and age surely stretches credulity even more than a man dressed like a bat does, doesn’t it? (In a clever allusion to The Joker’s chequered comics past and uncertain origins, his conflicting explanations for his distinctive facial scars are different every time. More self-mythologising. Just like The Batman.)

But it’s not just the citizens of Gotham The Joker pushes to breaking point. It’s the boundaries of the 12A certificate as well. His pencil trick and disturbing habit of sticking knives in people’s mouths, while bloodless, are genuinely squirm-inducing. The Joker has a real sense of threat and menace about him like few screen villains, regardless of the certificate. He is dangerous and unpredictable. That’s what makes him so terrifying.

But just when it looks like The Dark Knight is going to re-enact the ending of Burton’s Batman, it crucially undermines it instead. And when The Unstoppable Force tells The Immovable Object that “I think you and I are destined to do this for ever,” what was a sly reference to the neverending nature of comic book conflicts, becomes unintentionally poignant and almost unbearably sad. In an irony-filled movie this was the bitterest irony of all.

Ledger was a revelation here. Not on anyone’s radar but Nolan’s as an obvious candidate for The Clown Prince of Crime, his casting came as a real surprise, if not a downright shock for the online fanboys who (over)reacted with predictable outrage at the news. It was Daniel Craig all over again, and just like that toe-curling CRAIGNOTBOND carry-on the shrill nay-sayers once again were proved spectacularly and embarrassingly wrong. Won’t stop them doing it again the next time, though. [It didn’t. Anne Hathaway, anyone…?]

That posthumous Oscar was more than deserved. It is a stunning performance. Instantly iconic and iconoclastic, it blows Nicholson’s hammy panto turn off the screen and out of the pages of cinema history even while slyly incorporating wee nods to both his and Caesar Romero’s Jokers as well as knowing hints of Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot! and even (possibly) The Fall’s Mark E. Smith – “Why so SERIOUS-UH?” Ledger’s Joker is the stuff of primal nightmares. Nicholson’s was the stuff of camp TV shows – oh yes it was!

It took some balls for any actor to tackle such an iconic role so associated with an iconic star, no matter how overrated he is. (Truth be told, Nicholson was always hopelessly miscast as The Joker. Too fat and old for the part, his performance was no better than Caesar Romero’s. Controversial?) And Ledger’s balls were so big it was a wonder he could walk. Still can’t help wondering how old Jack musta felt about that at the time. He was very protective of the (lucrative) role and always seemed keen to reprise it. Even for Nolan? Could you imagine it? That film would need an enema!

Ledger’s unnerving performance is helped no end by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s score. The Joker’s jarring, endlessly sustained, one-note motif taking The Batman’s already minimalist two-note “theme” to the point of abstraction. A lot of this film seems to be deliberately designed to unnerve and disorient the audience, Nolan’s restless camera frequently circling the characters and the action like a predator ready to pounce. There is a real and gnawing sense of a city under siege and of escalating chaos which is disturbing to watch. Like one of The Joker’s knives, The Dark Knight really gets under your skin. (Loved the potato peeler gag, BTW.)

But “It’s not about money, it’s about sending a message,” although it’s unclear even The Joker knows precisely what that message is beyond (in a paraphrase of The Killing Joke) “Madness is like gravity - all it takes is a little push…”

The Joker is terror personified - the ultimate bogey man. THE 21st Century bogey man actually. For like Ra’s al Ghul, this Joker is also inspired by Osama bin Laden – he too terrorises the outside world via lo-res video recordings. “Some people can’t be bought, bullied or reasoned with. Some people just want to watch the world burn.” Like al Qaeda. For if Batman Begins evoked the spectre of 9/11, then The Dark Knight is clearly “about” The War on Terror, asking the disturbingly topical (and Nietzschean) question: how do you fight monsters without becoming a monster yourself? Bold, even daring stuff for a summer blockbuster about a man who dresses up like a bat.

Even more daringly, The Dark Knight doesn’t provide any easy (or reassuring) answers either. The closest it comes is “Either you die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” which proves tragically prophetic for more than one character. Foreshadowing doesn’t come any more thudding or portentous than that, though, and Nolan’s foreshadowing ain’t exactly subtle at the best of times. In fact it should come with the words “HEAVY FORESHADOWING ALERT!” flashing onscreen. Either that or a government health warning.

Nolan does this a lot – oft-repeated memes. In Batman Begins it was the similarly portentous (and on-the-nose) “It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you” which you just knew you’d be hearing again later at some point. Nolan just about gets away with it too, even if it does induce the odd groan.

The biggest surprise of Batman Begins was it was the first Batman film actually about Batman. But the biggest surprise of The Dark Knight is it isn’t about Batman or even The Joker at all. It is The Tragedy of Harvey Dent and Aaron Eckhart is the real star of the film. It’s his story we follow. His character who goes through the most dramatic changes, the biggest “arc” as it were. Yet Eckhart’s subtly layered and nuanced performance is inevitably overshadowed by the flashier, scene-stealing Joker and the real-life tragedy of Heath Ledger.

There are disturbing hints throughout that Harvey Dent’s psychosis predates his fateful accident (the precise nature of which differs markedly, if satisfyingly, from the comics) and that other name the cops have for him… (Nolan also has sly fun with the notion that, like Cillian Murphy, Eckhart himself was once considered for Batman.)

Interestingly, when The Joker roars “LOOK AT ME!” and Harvey Dent later shouts “SAY IT!” they sound identical. Just as when Batman (from off-screen) growls “I brought MINE!” in Batman Begins it sounds like Liam Neeson’s voice. It IS Liam Neeson’s voice. I suspect Nolan just might be saying something about the nature of duality when he does this. What? One of the overriding themes of all his movies? In a film about a guy who wears a mask? Who’d have thunk…?

The Dark Knight is a bold if not brave and audacious film. The good guys aren’t infallible. Batman doesn’t always win. He makes mistakes. And there are casualties. This is a surprisingly bleak, even harrowing film for a summer blockbuster which simply refuses to play by Hollywood rules (or cliches), sometimes to a genuinely shocking degree. Which is why it’s all the more incredible in retrospect that a film so relentlessly bleak made such a phenomenal amount of money at the box office. A zeitgeist-defining amount of money which suggests The Dark Knight caught some kind of post-9/11, pre-Credit Crunch wave. One for future film historians to ponder, I expect.

As is the film’s politics. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy has been accused of right wing propagandising if not outright fascism. That it condones and even endorses “Extraordinary Rendition” and torture. Yet, in The Dark Knight, torture is shown not to work. Indeed it is repeatedly shown to be counter-productive. And when a character (who really should know better) advocates the “temporary” suspension of civil liberties in the pursuit of “justice,” another character is quick to challenge him. This is politically ambiguous, morally complex and very deliberately open to interpretation. The Dark Knight doesn’t presume to provide simple answers to complex questions; to lecture the audience. It challenges the audience to provide its own answers. Only the very best films do that. It’s what Art does! We’ve come a long way from Adam West and Zap! Pow! campery. We’ve come a long way from Batman Begins. Amazing.

The Dark Knight Rises certainly seems to take a very dim, conservative view of human nature (or the mob, certainly) but The Dark Knight, for all its bleakness, shows more faith in human nature when the noblest act of courage and self-sacrifice is made quietly and without fuss by a minor character presented as one of the lowest-of-the-low; a brute. A development which is as surprising as it is moving. The world is cruel, yes. But not, it turns out, without hope.

Surveillance too is a major theme – there is an almost-actionable visual echo of V for Vendetta’s FATE computer. The very existence of which is challenged: “I’ve got to find this man, Lucius.” “At what cost?” And police corruption remains a major theme too. Even more so than in Batman Begins. Not very right-wing, that. But do us liberals look for “ambiguities” in films like this and Dirty Harry which simply are not there cos we feel guilty about enjoying them? Ambiguities or a rationalisation to ease guilty liberal consciences? Possibly. Christopher Nolan is always bemused by what gets read into his films. In that case, he’s gonna love me!

But no film is perfect – my endlessly repeated meme! Even the best ones. There are flaws in The Dark Knight. There are plot holes. Some quite egregious ones. What becomes of The Joker and his hostages after The Batman dives out of that window? How is Gordon able to pull a frankly jawdropping narrative fast one without prior knowledge of what The Joker was planning? Who actually built that huge frickin’ computer for Wayne and what did they think he was going to do with it? How did The Joker get hundreds of barrels of gasoline onboard those ferries without anyone noticing? And into that hospital, presumably…?

And if The Dark Knight is so “realistic,” how come more people don’t realise that Bruce Wayne is Batman? He clearly isn’t short of cash and has a lot of spare time on his hands. Batman either has a huge industrial outfit (with military contracts up the kazoo!) backing him or he’s the richest guy in the city. Or both, which kinda narrows it down a bit. I’m being flippant of course. It’s all about the willing suspension of disbelief. But the more “realistic” you make an obvious fantasy like Batman, the more you encourage audiences to willingly suspend their disbelief only so far. Although, to be fair, Nolan does fearlessly confront such conceits head-on. (Nolan is also very good at translating hackneyed aspects of the comics, like Harvey Dent’s iconic coin-flipping, which should appear cheesy on screen but don’t.)

So The Dark Knight’s “realism” has maybe been over-stated and can be a double-edged sword. Alan Moore has said that “realistic super-heroes” are an oxymoron anyway – and he should know! The Dark Knight bears this out. For mightily impressive and almost-plausible as it is, the more “realistic” it gets the more the audience is reminded that one guy’s still dressed like a bat. Which is just silly no matter how much you try to rationalise it. Indeed the more you rationalise it, the sillier it gets; the more Batman unintentionally invokes the uncomfortable spectre of Adam West’s classic line: “I don’t like to attract too much attention!” There were definitely moments, watching The Dark Knight, when my willing suspension of disbelief popped out for a Coke or something.*

The ending wasn’t one of them though. The Dark Knight really turns the screw on the audience, especially in its almost unbearably tense, multi-jeopardy filled third act. Nolan likes playing games with the audience as much as The Joker does, and he and his co-writers clearly know their games theory. Psychology students everywhere will immediately recognise the climax as “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” played for the highest stakes imaginable in a suspense sequence of nervous, sweating intensity.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Far from it. Who says The Dark Knight Trilogy hasn’t got a sense of humour? “Rachel’s told me everything about you.” “I certainly hope not.” I’m baffled when critics accuse these films of being po-faced for there is some very sly, even black humour in this one. Fox’s possibly sequel-baiting reference to cats. Bruce Wayne’s “I was brought up here and I turned out OK.” And Gordon telling Dent that “Things will get ugly.” Hmmm…

And speaking of sly humour, Nolan’s ongoing love affair with the Bond franchise continues apace here. Like 007, Batman goes international for one jawdroppingly audacious sequence which spectacularly deploys a real-life Bat-gadget straight out of Thunderball. A SWAT van rammed off a bridge and into a river is lifted from Licence To Kill. And Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox is still Batman’s “Q” in all but name.

The Batmobile chase sequence, while bigger, is almost identical to the one in Batman Begins – that took place largely underground too. But it’s just not as good somehow. (I wonder if Gotham’s insurance companies cover you if your car gets flattened by the Batmobile.) And the Batpod was surely inspired by Judge Dredd’s Lawmaster – how on earth did they ever get those frickin’ enormous tyres to corner? The editing of this sequence is all over the shop (literally, when Bats fulfils the fantasy of many by teararsing through a crowded shopping mall at 100mph) but is so viscerally impressionistic you hardly notice on a first viewing.

(And it’s a real shame that truck-flipping money shot from the trailers looks like a model when they went to the bother of doing it for real!)

But The Dark Knight isn’t just a Bond film with capes. It’s an urban western as well. The powerfully plaintive and emotional coda is straight out of Shane – another mythic genre hero. And like Shane, The Dark Knight is ultimately about our need for heroes, legends, yes, and myths. Sometimes at the expense of the truth. Which brings to mind the ending of another famous western. The Dark Knight resonates strongly with the famous last words of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – when the legend becomes fact, print the legend! Although this can be a double-edged sword too of course, if not a tightrope – there are dangerous myths also. Alan Moore (in his introduction to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns - that would make a good film!) suggests that our psychological need for heroes is itself inherently fascistic. I think he may have a written a book about that himself once…

Not that The Batman’s heroism doesn’t come at a terrible cost to himself and others. “You brought this craziness on us!” someone accuses The Batman at one point and it is a hard charge to refute. Even The Batman has to ask himself if he is ultimately responsible for The Joker’s madness. It is significant here that in keeping with Nolan’s “realistic” filmmaking aesthetic that his Joker wears make-up – perhaps suggesting that his literal theatricality was inspired by Batman in the first place.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Batman’s desire to inspire others to stand up to injustice only encourages Bernie Goetz-style copycat vigilantes with guns who also openly challenge The Batman - rightly asking what makes him any better. A question which pointedly isn’t answered by The Dark Knight’s amusing if glib response. This is morally complex stuff which repeatedly refuses to accept The Batman’s “heroism” (or motivations) at face value. Or his sanity for that matter: “I don’t need help!” “Not my diagnosis.”

And no-one challenges The Batman or his motives more than his faithful, er, batman. As before, Michael Caine’s Alfred is the heart and soul of the movie. A well as his master’s conscience and, frequently, his sense of humour as well. “Any psychotic ex-boyfriends I should know about?” “Oh, you have no idea,” is the laugh of this supposedly laugh-free trilogy. And it’s Alfred who comes up with Bruce’s little playboy wheezes/alibis. Like absconding with an entire ballet company. Presumably just the female ones…

(Alfred’s matter-of-fact revelation that he and “his friends in Burma” were clearly mercenaries perhaps explains how he knew so much about Bane, BTW. Maybe Alfred still has contacts in that shadowy world. Handy.)

Everyone excels here. Everyone shines. Even the most minor bit players. Not even the Coen Brothers cast their films better. Eric Roberts fills the Rutger Hauer role of reminding audiences what an underrated and unfairly neglected screen presence he is as well as further hinting at Nolan’s tastes as a film fan. Blade Runner might be Nolan’s favourite film, but I bet he’s a big fan of Runaway Train as well.

The delightful Maggie Gyllenhaal fills in for the AWOL Katie Holmes without jarring too much in what is still an underwritten role. And it’s easier to buy her as a high-flying Assistant DA somehow. Maybe she just looks smarter.

Gary Oldman excels, of course, as Ned Flanders. I mean Jim Gordon – Frank Miller’s inspired elevation of this stalwart character to badass co-star status being arguably his greatest contribution to the comics as well as to Nolan’s films. And Oldman gets some great material here. There is a palpable air of desperation when he cries: “We have to save Dent. I have to save Dent!” There’s a lovely little moment between Gordon and his son which remains one of my favourite bits. And his powerfully evocative voiceover at the end gets me every time.

Bale’s great too, despite Ledger’s cinematic equivalent of grand larceny. He certainly holds his own better against Ledger’s outrageous scene-stealing than poor, old, underwritten Michael Keaton did opposite Jack Nicholson. His Batman voice comes in for a lot of stick from people who are just looking for things to complain about, though. But what else is he supposed to do? His options are strictly limited to a Clint Eastwood whisper or a Clint Eastwood growl and clearly Bale has opted for the latter. What else was he going to do – Jason Statham cockney geezer hard man? Caribbean Darth Vader with laryngitis…?

In a curious footnote, an actor from Burton’s Batman crops up in The Dark Knight too, useless-fact fans. Paul Birchard, who was the Gotham Globe hack who says “That’s what they do with garbage,” plays one of the uniformed cops guarding The Joker’s cage at the MCU. I only know this cos Birchard (an American) used to live in Glasgow and between acting gigs used to be a late night DJ on Radio Clyde and I recognised his voice - He’s the cop who says the fateful line: “Is that… a phone?”

It’s always darkest before the dawn and The Dark Knight ends up in a very dark place indeed. One which at the time suggested that another sequel would have to lighten the tone. Or at least provide The Batman with some crimefighting company. Goodbye The Dark Knight, hello The Caped Crusader? Or even – dare I say it – The Dynamic Duo? But it was not to be. Or was it…?

2 ½ hours long but it doesn’t feel like it, The Dark Knight doesn’t mess about. And there isn’t an ounce of narrative fat on it. It is a masterpiece of screenwriting pace and economy, each scene doing just what it has to before moving on to the next one with the precision of an exploding Swiss watch which turns into a laser.

Jim Gordon spoke portentously about escalation at the end of Batman Begins and he wasn’t kidding. Nolan takes upping the super-sequel ante to new heights. Not just in terms of action and scale, but creatively and thematically as well. And never just for the budget-busting sake of it. Most sequels are just one damn thing after another. But Nolan makes everything bigger cos the story demands it – Michael Bay, please take note. Please? I’m begging you!

For I think it’s safe to say that Nolan is one of The Greats – sometimes you don’t have to wait until someone is brown bread or dribbling incoherently before you can acknowledge that. It is self-evident. Nolan hasn’t come close to making anywhere near a bad film yet and there aren’t many directors who can say that.

Sometimes people deserve to have their trust in sequels rewarded. The Dark Knight isn’t just one of the greatest super-hero movies of all time and one of the few sequels to rank alongside Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II as good as if not better than the original, it ranks alongside the likes of Heat and, yes, The Godfather as a modern crime classic in its own right. The Dark Knight almost isn’t a super-hero film at all, the antagonists’ admittedly bizarre appearance almost proving incidental. This film would be great with or without the costumes. Another remarkable achievement.

Sometimes you just know when you’re watching an instant classic. Jaws, Empire, Raiders, Aliens, Gladiator – I wonder what tedious online nitpickers would have made of that lot at the time… The Dark Knight is another one. You just know in the first five minutes that you’re in safe hands. You know like you know a good melon.

And like that esteemed company, The Dark Knight is a film which only gets better, each successive viewing revealing more layers of nuance, irony, resonance and meaning. (And, it must be said, the occasional new plot hole too!) Only the very best films do that. And in recent years the only other one I can think of is The Big Lebowski. Praise indeed – The Bat abides…










* Other brown fizzy drinks that are bad for your teeth are available.



Well said dude. Except for the bit where you call Killing Joke overrated and praise Jeph Loeb

As for "plot holes", Batman would have reacted as he did if ANYONE had been thrown out of the window, and people are presupposing he had further need to kill/capture hostages. Joker has a plan, Dent wasn't there, Rachel was thrown out the window. You can claim it's more in keeping with his character to kill all the hostages, but I'd disagree. Joker has a plan (I know he says he doesn't but Bad guys lie!) .


(in reply to chris kilby)
Post #: 1146
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:02:28 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Wild about Wilder

I went to see it again with my friend the other day, who I always thought was a bit of an idiot (it's ok as he thinks he's one too) & he pointed out how did they get all the motorbikes in the Gotham Stock Exchange without anyone seeing as don't think they'd have time before the Police response & to be brutily honest I couldn't come up with an answer?
Stupid I Know just wonder if anyone else knows as can't get his DAMN! question out of my head!


It's only like 5 motorbikes! Would it be that hard, by LoS standards, to sneak them inside and store them in the basement or something? We see that the LoS, Project Mayhem style, have infiltrated all sorts of places

(in reply to Wild about Wilder)
Post #: 1147
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:29:18 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prophet_of_Doom


quote:

ORIGINAL: chris kilby

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prophet_of_Doom


quote:

ORIGINAL: chris kilby

Anywho... The Dark Knight. Did I raise any issues about it earlier in my rather lengthy (and, I hoped, serious and thought-provoking yet light-hearted) review/essay that anyone would like to discuss on this Dark Knight Review thread? Anyone...?


Well, the first point I'd take issue with is the lack of flab. There's definitely flab. Always is with Nolan.


From a purely scriptwriting perspective, I'd say Nolan and his co-writers are definitely low-fat. If anything, you could argue they are too schematic. A-B writers, overly-concerned with plot at the expense of everything else. Look how the scenes at the start of The Dark Knight introduce The Joker, Gordon, Batman/Wayne and Dent, in turn, then starts mixing and matching them (Batman and Gordon, Gordon and Dent, Dent and Wayne) until the triumverate of "decent men in an indecent time" meet for the first time on the roof of the MCU. Each scene, building up to that moment which sets Act II in motion, is textbook "Screenwriting 101." Each scene imparts vital information about character, plot or both then, job done, doesn't hang about. On to the next scene. Yet what could be a soulless exercise in plot mechanics is anything but cos these vital scenes which introduce the dramatis personae and set up the plot are great dramatic scenes in their own right. The drama hides the machinery. Now that's good writing and as lean as Jessica Ennis.

Take the dinner scene between Bruce, Harvey and Rachel. It's virtually the heart and soul of the film and, apart from The Joker, the main engine of the plot. This scene establishes so much amid the witty banter and amusing character interplay. It establishes that Bruce believes Harvey could well be The White Knight he's been looking for. It sets up the whole "Either you die a hero" thing which basically binds Bruce and Harvey together and seals their fate. But most importantly and most subtly it starts ringing alarm bells that Harvey maybe isn't quite The White Knight everyone hopes he is and suggests that maybe Two-Face was lurking far below the surface all along. And it does all this and more with incredible skill, craft and economy.

It's a bit of a screenwriting masterclass in its own right. A filmmaking and acting masterclass too. Listen to what's being said. And what is unsaid. Look at the masks everyone's wearing, the lies and deceptions. Look at the telling glances between Rachel and Bruce which speak volumes. Watch how the camera circles the characters round the table (a signature move which recurs throughout the film) which suggests unease and reflects how, behind Bruce's smirking playboy act, The Batman is circling Harvey like a predator, trying to suss him out. Phew! And that's not the half of it. And that's just one scene. I've seen whole movies which don't have that much going on!

quote:

But the one single feature that I always remember, the first thing that always pops into my head is this: Nolan (and most of the film's fans) focus on how the film is bedded in reality. Not the cartoon world of Burton, but a hyper-stylised world in which we might all exist. And then, he gives us the worst cgi make-up for Two-Face at the end, that I thought I was watching shots from The Mummy. And The Mummy hasn't aged well. The moment that happened, BAM, the film lost me. Because everything in a film has to work within the framework that it has built for itself.


Fair enough. Few things date quicker than special effects. Personally I found "Two-Face" disturbingly horrific, a good "Nolanverse" approximation of the comics, and a vast improvement on the Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever. I thought it looked convincingly "real" enough although obviously such an injury would surely prove fatal. Burns victims are particularly prone to infections and at the very least Harvey would be blind in that dry, lidless eye, and sound like The Elephant Man. Wearing Bane's gimp mask.

But that's the tightrope Nolan's been walking - between comic book fantasy and at least the appearance of a plausible pseudo-reality. As I said before, I think The Dark Knight Trilogy's supposed "realism" has been overstated and can be counter-productive - the more "real" it tries to be, the sillier it risks looking. Two-Face kinda encapsulates that.

I like Nolan and Burton's Bat-flicks for different reasons. While I prefer the gritty "reality" of Nolan (probably cos I'm so pedantic) I've always loved the twisted, German Expressionism of Batman Returns which, being so timeless, may actually age better than The Dark Knight Trilogy. Nolan's films are so contemporary, so rooted in the here-and-now (9/11, The War on Terror, Occupy, yadda, yadda, yadda) that they may date really badly. Even more than poor old Harvey's CGI-ed face!




I don't know where to start. I can understand that you rate the film highly, but this is bordering on idolatry. Objective reasoning has gone out the window. Acting/writing/filmmaking mastercalsses? Those comments drain my soul so comprehensively that the resultant ennui renders any response impossible!



The irony on this is that Prophet loves "teaching" people filmmaking 101 based on his extensive knowledge of how "Hollywood's leading writers and directors" create their stories. Dare one say that his comparing of Nolan with Bay suggests he might be talking nonsense.

'Realism', even assuming it is necessarily contrary to genre fiction, is a recent innovation, a literary cul-de-sac. To posit it as the only mechanism for serious themes is demonstrable nonsense.

(in reply to Prophet_of_Doom)
Post #: 1148
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:36:39 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prophet_of_Doom


However, I think the problem lies in a certain snobbery (of which I'm definitely guilty) that says that a film which is very clearly working on a more profound level and has plenty to say (like Apocalypse Now) has more validity than a comic book adaptation which might be trying to do something similar, just in a more subtle manner.



Exactly. You assume that Gangster stories and war stories CAN work on profound levels whereas comic book stories can not. That tells us everything we need to now about Prophet's toxic combination of inane, sub-undergraduate presuppositions and a level of arrogance about film that would be disproportionate in even a Scorcese or Spielberg. How many years ago was Watchmen again?

And note that this is a criticism of IDEAS and ARGUMENT And their application to the MOVIE UNDER DISCUSSION, NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK.


(in reply to Prophet_of_Doom)
Post #: 1149
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:39:49 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54575
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK.


Cerebusboy, when you say you understand when you're asked something can I ask what you understand that to mean?

quote:

  The irony on this is that Prophet loves "teaching" people filmmaking 101 based on his extensive knowledge of how "Hollywood's leading writers and directors" create their stories


quote:

  That tells us everything we need to now about Prophet's toxic combination of inane, sub-undergraduate presuppositions and a level of arrogance


This is the last time this will be informal - quit it. Use the block button or stick to the post rather than saying you are but adding a snide comment.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1150
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:40:09 AM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
But you did just attack him again in the post above that one so I don't think that works.

_____________________________

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(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1151
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:40:32 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44

And you wonder why people aren't that keen talking to you.





Speak for yourself! Chris is funny, devoted and he always plays fair. I think that compares favourably with some of the bile and arrogance elsewhere (and let me state again that I am not here in any way referring to you - in fact, you're probably one of my top 3 favourite DKR-critical posters )

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 1152
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:42:44 AM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

quote:

NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK.


Cerebusboy, when you say you understand when you're asked something can I ask what you understand that to mean?

quote:

  The irony on this is that Prophet loves "teaching" people filmmaking 101 based on his extensive knowledge of how "Hollywood's leading writers and directors" create their stories


quote:

  That tells us everything we need to now about Prophet's toxic combination of inane, sub-undergraduate presuppositions and a level of arrogance


This is the last time this will be informal - quit it. Use the block button or stick to the post rather than saying you are but adding a snide comment.




We are discussing APPROACHES to Dark Knight and other movies. I would maintain that Prophet's is unfair and flawed for the reasons stated. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PROPHET AS A PERSON AND SO IS IN NO WAY A PERSONAL ATTACK.

That said, duly noted, won't happen again, my apologies.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 1153
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 11:54:44 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54575
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

toxic combination of inane, sub-undergraduate presuppositions and a level of arrogance



If you wish to continue posting I'd suggest you find a dictionary and cut out the self-justifications. We all seriously hope this is the last time any of the Moderation Team need to repeat this. No further apologies are necessary - just show it in actions, please.

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1154
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 5:40:23 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker


quote:

ORIGINAL: giggity

I also would have preferred that Nolan used Prosthetics for Two Face, although his excuse for using CGI was that Make up just added to the face, whereas a burn is supposed to take away from the face, using CGI was the only way to get that effect. While I would have preferred make up it doesn't really take me out of the film.


I've been a bit 50-50 about Two Face as well, the injuries look so extreme it does shift the film out of the 'realism' aspect of Nolan's take on Batman, but it also looks so damn cool you forgive it, so overall CGI Two Face gets a thumbs up.




Renember also that the injuries need to be extreme to support the notion that severe trauma is a reason for Harvey turning evil.

(in reply to Fluke Skywalker)
Post #: 1155
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 5:42:04 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: chris kilby


quote:

ORIGINAL: Discodez


quote:

ORIGINAL: Prophet_of_Doom


quote:

ORIGINAL: Discodez


quote:

ORIGINAL: Prophet_of_Doom

I don't know where to start. I can understand that you rate the film highly, but this is bordering on idolatry. Objective reasoning has gone out the window. Acting/writing/filmmaking mastercalsses? Those comments drain my soul so comprehensively that the resultant ennui renders any response impossible!




you still managed one though


Damn you, hoisted by my own petard!


I have to agree with Chris's comments on the two face CGI though, having watched TDK again recently sure it's not perfect but it's pretty damn good. You say that as soon as it appears then BAM any notion of reality goes out the window but how else could it have been achieved, make up can only go so far and to have made it with prosthetics and all gory and bloody would have made his face look bloated and plasticy and probably made the censors baulk at giving the film a 12 certificate.

The only "realistic" way they could have done it would have been to rip off half of Eckhart's face! I doubt he's that "method" personally


Wasn't The Red Skull in Captain America a combination of prosthetics and CGI? Make-up which was digitally tweaked and slimmed down in post...?



Yeah, but with the Two Face effect you see the bones and stuff - the effect is taking away from the face, not just adding stuff on top of it like Red Skull.

(in reply to chris kilby)
Post #: 1156
RE: Epic Film. - 23/8/2012 5:43:48 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: reaper996

Batman Begins was a hard film to live up to, but Chris Nolan and Co manage it. The Dark Knight is an epic film of all proportions and is one of the best films of all time. The cast, score, effects, script and other things are just spectacular and all help make this one dazzling film. A must watch.



Well said - I agree.

(in reply to reaper996)
Post #: 1157
RE: The Dark Knight - 23/8/2012 5:45:34 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: chris kilby

Dunno. But as Robert McKee himself has pointed out - the three-act structure is nothing new. It's as old as storytelling itself. Most stories (most drama, certainly) fits into it naturally - set-up, development, resolution. It's basically how classic storytelling works. It's not something that was imposed on us by Hollywood or anything. They just stuck a new label on it.



Yeah, that's why the Dark Knight's structure is such genius. The Joker is captured, and it feels like a traditional happy ending of a Batman movie. Then there's a dark twist, supported and made more powerful by breaking the three act structure.

(in reply to chris kilby)
Post #: 1158
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:10:44 PM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1893
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere

quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker


quote:

ORIGINAL: giggity

I also would have preferred that Nolan used Prosthetics for Two Face, although his excuse for using CGI was that Make up just added to the face, whereas a burn is supposed to take away from the face, using CGI was the only way to get that effect. While I would have preferred make up it doesn't really take me out of the film.


I've been a bit 50-50 about Two Face as well, the injuries look so extreme it does shift the film out of the 'realism' aspect of Nolan's take on Batman, but it also looks so damn cool you forgive it, so overall CGI Two Face gets a thumbs up.




Renember also that the injuries need to be extreme to support the notion that severe trauma is a reason for Harvey turning evil.



Even before the injury, Harvey is capable of holding someone at gunpoint and making them believe their life depends on the toss of a coin when he kind of loses it when Rachel is missing. From, say the Joker's perspective, what Two Face does is already in Harvey, it just needs the right pressure to bring it out. The damage to the face is symbolic of what has happened to his soul. The trauma for Harvey isn't the injury, it's not knowing where Rachel is later knowing she is dead. Two face is Harvey's dark potential, previously hinted at.


And re the three act structure thing, the five act structure also taught as a way to approach fim, with end result running time being divided almost precisely in 5...

Character
Circumstance
Conflict
Complication
Conclusion

The complication act ends with the introduction 'the final complication' after the conflicts introduced in act 3 have been ramped up apparently as high as they can go, then one more thing throws all into confusion again. In the five act structure, the final complication is Two Face, the hero thinks he has got the bad guy, and then...

The fact that the Joker disappears from the film is irrelevant to whether it follows traditional act structure. right form the start, the Joker's actions set things in motion and by the end of act four (Joker caught, laughing because as far as he is concerned, he's won) the Joker's actions are still behind what transpires.



_____________________________

Yes, dreamers dream and doers do. But if dreamers DON'T dream, doers don't have anything TO do. Everything that is only here because people exist, only exists because someone thought of it., or in other words, dreamed it.

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1159
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:14:02 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski


quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker


quote:

ORIGINAL: giggity

I also would have preferred that Nolan used Prosthetics for Two Face, although his excuse for using CGI was that Make up just added to the face, whereas a burn is supposed to take away from the face, using CGI was the only way to get that effect. While I would have preferred make up it doesn't really take me out of the film.


I've been a bit 50-50 about Two Face as well, the injuries look so extreme it does shift the film out of the 'realism' aspect of Nolan's take on Batman, but it also looks so damn cool you forgive it, so overall CGI Two Face gets a thumbs up.




Renember also that the injuries need to be extreme to support the notion that severe trauma is a reason for Harvey turning evil.



Even before the injury, Harvey is capable of holding someone at gunpoint and making them believe their life depends on the toss of a coin when he kind of loses it when Rachel is missing. From, say the Joker's perspective, what Two Face does is already in Harvey, it just needs the right pressure to bring it out. The damage to the face is symbolic of what has happened to his soul. The trauma for Harvey isn't the injury, it's not knowing where Rachel is later knowing she is dead. Two face is Harvey's dark potential, previously hinted at.


And re the three act structure thing, the five act structure also taught as a way to approach fim, with end result running time being divided almost precisely in 5...

Character
Circumstance
Conflict
Complication
Conclusion

The complication act ends with the introduction 'the final complication' after the conflicts introduced in act 3 have been ramped up apparently as high as they can go, then one more thing throws all into confusion again. In the five act structure, the final complication is Two Face, the hero thinks he has got the bad guy, and then...

The fact that the Joker disappears from the film is irrelevant to whether it follows traditional act structure. right form the start, the Joker's actions set things in motion and by the end of act four (Joker caught, laughing because as far as he is concerned, he's won) the Joker's actions are still behind what transpires.





Harvey knows that the gun isn't loaded in the earlier scene however. It's still quite a leap from that to actually killing and so on. You could argue that it's actually a milder response to someone who (as far as he knows) just killed Gordon than what your average police oficer would give out.

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1160
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:15:41 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski


quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker


quote:

ORIGINAL: giggity

I also would have preferred that Nolan used Prosthetics for Two Face, although his excuse for using CGI was that Make up just added to the face, whereas a burn is supposed to take away from the face, using CGI was the only way to get that effect. While I would have preferred make up it doesn't really take me out of the film.


I've been a bit 50-50 about Two Face as well, the injuries look so extreme it does shift the film out of the 'realism' aspect of Nolan's take on Batman, but it also looks so damn cool you forgive it, so overall CGI Two Face gets a thumbs up.




Renember also that the injuries need to be extreme to support the notion that severe trauma is a reason for Harvey turning evil.



Even before the injury, Harvey is capable of holding someone at gunpoint and making them believe their life depends on the toss of a coin when he kind of loses it when Rachel is missing. From, say the Joker's perspective, what Two Face does is already in Harvey, it just needs the right pressure to bring it out. The damage to the face is symbolic of what has happened to his soul. The trauma for Harvey isn't the injury, it's not knowing where Rachel is later knowing she is dead. Two face is Harvey's dark potential, previously hinted at.


And re the three act structure thing, the five act structure also taught as a way to approach fim, with end result running time being divided almost precisely in 5...

Character
Circumstance
Conflict
Complication
Conclusion

The complication act ends with the introduction 'the final complication' after the conflicts introduced in act 3 have been ramped up apparently as high as they can go, then one more thing throws all into confusion again. In the five act structure, the final complication is Two Face, the hero thinks he has got the bad guy, and then...

The fact that the Joker disappears from the film is irrelevant to whether it follows traditional act structure. right form the start, the Joker's actions set things in motion and by the end of act four (Joker caught, laughing because as far as he is concerned, he's won) the Joker's actions are still behind what transpires.





I would also agree with the Comics Alliance (five part, roundtable, highly recommended) review of Dark Knight where they point out that all the central themes, character, conflict (rise of old crime, Joker, Batman wanting to retire, Dent as white knight etc) is in place very early in the film. The five act formula you cite is I think, in this instance, overly and needlessly schematic.

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1161
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:38:57 PM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1893
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere
It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs



< Message edited by jobloffski -- 24/8/2012 4:40:29 PM >


_____________________________

Yes, dreamers dream and doers do. But if dreamers DON'T dream, doers don't have anything TO do. Everything that is only here because people exist, only exists because someone thought of it., or in other words, dreamed it.

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Post #: 1162
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:45:31 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs




Interesting. I'd need to examine a number of case studies (your Jaws example is good) to see how useful and univerally applicable the model is. However surely the fact that all five acts are in an order would necessarily mean that there's an element of escalation which may not be of the clear building block variety? Even films that are a "beginning, muddle and end" still have building-to-a-climax of sorts!

You make some really interesting points. You should go check out the Dark Knight Rises thread - it's still going, and would certainly benefit from some such excellent on-topic analysis

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1163
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 4:50:27 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs




Interesting. I'd need to examine a number of case studies (your Jaws example is good) to see how useful and univerally applicable the model is. However surely the fact that all five acts are in an order would necessarily mean that there's an element of escalation which may not be of the clear building block variety? Even films that are a "beginning, muddle and end" still have building-to-a-climax of sorts!

You make some really interesting points. You should go check out the Dark Knight Rises thread - it's still going, and would certainly benefit from some such excellent on-topic analysis




MORE excellent on-topic analysis that should be. Me and Chris are still kicking it old school! (and RGirvan's there too)

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1164
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:14:10 PM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1893
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere
quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs




Interesting. I'd need to examine a number of case studies (your Jaws example is good) to see how useful and univerally applicable the model is. However surely the fact that all five acts are in an order would necessarily mean that there's an element of escalation which may not be of the clear building block variety? Even films that are a "beginning, muddle and end" still have building-to-a-climax of sorts!

You make some really interesting points. You should go check out the Dark Knight Rises thread - it's still going, and would certainly benefit from some such excellent on-topic analysis



Howver the skill is in doing it in blocks, and making appear to NOT be. The 'mini daramatic peak' at the end of thr first of the four of the five acts is istself built towards, and done well enough, its impact, and the effect it has on the direction the narrative then takes seems totally seamless. Obviously, storytelling has natural progression and notions auch as structure are about looking at how things already worked. But with structure in mind you can make it work for you, though naturally, some efforts think the structure is why something works, not just how something works. You can follow the 'rules' totally and still produce bullshit! Well structured bullshit, but bullshit all the same.

Been in the TDKR thread, commented at length, on such subjects as WHY WOULD GORDON SEND ALL THE COPS TO THE SEWERS, with suggestions such as the previous films showed grave actions when a threat wasn't acted upon immediately, Gordon is eaten up with guilt by the consequences of not acting sooner, and when seeing something that could be even worse, it was in character to try and make up for it by going in heavy, and fast, and not waiting to consult others. Also, answered why Batman didn't go for Bane's mask earlier with something like when Bane has the mental upper hand, he breaks Batman;s mask, symbolically breaking him, and when the position are reversed, so are the results. In other words, the action shown totally ties in with character and theme, as established in earlier films and/or in the new one

It. Does. No. Good.


< Message edited by jobloffski -- 24/8/2012 5:23:20 PM >


_____________________________

Yes, dreamers dream and doers do. But if dreamers DON'T dream, doers don't have anything TO do. Everything that is only here because people exist, only exists because someone thought of it., or in other words, dreamed it.

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1165
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:21:24 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs




Interesting. I'd need to examine a number of case studies (your Jaws example is good) to see how useful and univerally applicable the model is. However surely the fact that all five acts are in an order would necessarily mean that there's an element of escalation which may not be of the clear building block variety? Even films that are a "beginning, muddle and end" still have building-to-a-climax of sorts!

You make some really interesting points. You should go check out the Dark Knight Rises thread - it's still going, and would certainly benefit from some such excellent on-topic analysis




MORE excellent on-topic analysis that should be. Me and Chris are still kicking it old school! (and RGirvan's there too)



Shame Fluke Skywalker's not around - he made a lively contribution, although he's still wrong about the cops down the sewers!

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1166
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:28:41 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski

It is schematic, that's the point, it's just how well you layer things on so that the skeleton doesn't show.

For instance, I didn't mention 'dramatic apex' that according to this schematic structure is the point of no return for the story, it will now unstoppably flow towards an inevitable conclusion because there is a choice that must be made. To take Jaws as an example, when Brody's son is nearly attacked by the shark, it is basically slap bang in the middle of the running time (where the dramatic apex always comes, and it is this event that forces Brody to confront his fear of the water and get involved in the shark hunt personally, and I suppose if I could be arsed, I could check exactly what happens in TDK at the comparable point in the film)

I'm only citing something I questioned very much when it was introduced to me, that I couldn't argue against any more when I looked at films using the 'template' and noting that dividing the running time into 5, whatever the story actually was, and however it was narratively presented, each of the five acts built towards something significant and kicked the film up a notch, and in the middle of the 'conflict' act, something very significant upon which the entire film turned took place.

Key elements are obviously introduced early, but the playing out of the points happens across the film as a whole, and rather slavishly in tune with the 5 Cs




Interesting. I'd need to examine a number of case studies (your Jaws example is good) to see how useful and univerally applicable the model is. However surely the fact that all five acts are in an order would necessarily mean that there's an element of escalation which may not be of the clear building block variety? Even films that are a "beginning, muddle and end" still have building-to-a-climax of sorts!

You make some really interesting points. You should go check out the Dark Knight Rises thread - it's still going, and would certainly benefit from some such excellent on-topic analysis



Howver the skill is in doing it in blocks, and making appear to NOT be. The 'mini daramatic peak' at the end of thr first of the four of the five acts is istself built towards, and done well enough, its impact, and the effect it has on the direction the narrative then takes seems totally seamless. Obviously, storytelling has natural progression and notions auch as structure are about looking at how things already worked. But with structure in mind you can make it work for you, though naturally, some efforts think the structure is why something works, not just how something works. You can follow the 'rules' totally and still produce bullshit! Well structured bullshit, but bullshit all the same.

Been in the TDKR thread, commented at length, on such subjects as WHY WOULD GORDON SEND ALL THE COPS TO THE SEWERS, with suggestions such as the previous films showed grave actions when a threat wasn't acted upon immediately, Gordon is eaten up with guilt by the consequences of not acting sooner, and when seeing something that could be even worse, it was in character to try and make up for it by going in heavy, and fast, and not waiting to consult others.

It. Does. No. Good.



I appreciate that the Five Act Structure you're invoking is not synonymous with the ol' theatre one, but isn't it true that traditionally there's been a dip in the drama - i.e. it's an upwards curve, level, dip, highest peak rather than a steady rise that might be suggested by a model postulating escalation as the key? Of course one could argue that an attention grabbing opening scene ought not be ranked hierarchically near the top of dramatic significance just because it has a lot of explosions (I've mostly forgotten Transformers 3, but was its opening not Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's ass? Not sure how this reflects the deep themes and subtext Bay was going for ) but I think structurally there probably are a lot of movies that start with a genuine high (Edmund White once made the interesting point that, in a work of genius, every page and paragraph has the DNA of the whole) dip and then build to climax near the end. Is the postulated 5 act structure that useful if 3, 4 and 5 are largely the stages of part 3 of a hypothetical 3 act structure?

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1167
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:29:56 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski



Been in the TDKR thread, commented at length, on such subjects as WHY WOULD GORDON SEND ALL THE COPS TO THE SEWERS, with suggestions such as the previous films showed grave actions when a threat wasn't acted upon immediately, Gordon is eaten up with guilt by the consequences of not acting sooner, and when seeing something that could be even worse, it was in character to try and make up for it by going in heavy, and fast, and not waiting to consult others. Also, answered why Batman didn't go for Bane's mask earlier with something like when Bane has the mental upper hand, he breaks Batman;s mask, symbolically breaking him, and when the position are reversed, so are the results. In other words, the action shown totally ties in with character and theme, as established in earlier films and/or in the new one




Quoted For Truth

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1168
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:31:18 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski


It. Does. No. Good.




And this

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 1169
RE: The Dark Knight - 24/8/2012 5:38:47 PM   
cerebusboy


Posts: 1552
Joined: 1/5/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: cerebusboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: jobloffski


It. Does. No. Good.




And this



Still good to talk though - people joked about the thread getting to 100 pages but, if everyone pulls together for the cause, I think it's an achievable goal!

that said, obviously if the on-topic discussion stops then I wouldn't want to just continue the thread indefinitely.

(in reply to cerebusboy)
Post #: 1170
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