Skip to content

Review: The Dark Night

Be warned, this is not a film about Batman. It’s not about the Joker either. If you have to pin it to anyone, I would say the main character of this film is the city of Gotham. More than that though, this is a film about solitude; a film about one tiny pebble in a vast ocean of problems; maybe even two pebbles.

Solitude is a common theme in the films of Christopher Nolan. He addressed it with Memento; then went even deeper with Insomnia. He toyed with it in Batman Begins, and you’ll even find it in The Prestige, but it wasn’t until The Dark Night that he really brought it home, and IMAX made it twice as powerful. The majority of the movie is filmed in standard 35mm, but a few choice scenes were filmed on IMAX cameras, using 70mm film, giving Nolan twice the scope possible with the rest of the movie. These scenes were not picked willy nilly. Every scene filmed in IMAX consists of either a lone Batman (Christian Bale), or a lone Joker (Heath Ledger), sometimes together, doing their thing – two solitary forces trying to affect a gigantic 70mm world.

These scenes enact what amounts to a few small ripples in the lake of problems affecting Gotham City. Crime is at an all time high and Batman can barely keep up. Out of nowhere, a new kind of villain shows up and turns the city upside down – the Joker. These two opposing forces make small jabs at society – one for its good; the other for its demise, but as long as these forces are acting on their own, society remains largely unaffected and right back where it began. It is only as these characters learn they cannot do it on their own that they start to see some change, and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is the key to this change. He is the only one that can rally the city for good or for evil. Batman and the Joker are merely symbols for the city to embrace; two sides of the human ethos. It is when these two opposing forces realize this that the movie really takes flight.

Believe all the hype. This movie is THAT good. The acting is superb. Ledger is as amazing as everyone says. My friend, Kyle, said that Bale gave the weakest performance, but even his performance was leaps and bounds over anything else in the theaters right now. That’s saying a lot, and it’s true. Each character brings his/her own deep story with him/her, which Nolan places perfectly in the dark, lonely world he has created, then he adds a whole new level – IMAX, bringing twice the power to his themes and in turn, twice the power to the film. If you haven’t seen this film on the IMAX screen, you haven’t seen it.

Watch it, then watch it again.

– 4,346,527,918 arbitrary stars