The Dark Knight is a stunning and disturbing film filled with moral dilemmas. Who would you kill in order for another person (or other persons) survive? What if those persons were immoral versus innocent? Who deserves to live and who deserves to die? If you had to turn a morally ambiguous person over to be killed in order for an innocent person to survive, would you? Those are the choices that Heath Ledger’s “The Joker” puts the people of Gotham City. He does this first with the hope of unmasking Batman, and then his goal shifts to turn a seemingly moral, upstanding and righteous man into a man of hatred and revenge.
The movie is not flawless and can get a little confusing with all of the action going on at times. Of course you have to suspend belief when you begin to think how the Joker was able to pull off a lot of the “stunts” he pulls. But the story line is entertaining with some unexpected twists and surprises.
All of the hype about Ledger’s “Joker” is well deserved. He made Jack Nicholson’s character seem like a buffoonish cartoon character. Ledger’s “Joker” is a psychopath. And yet you will find a few little nuances that make you chuckle without losing your fear of him. There should be no doubt that Ledger deserves a Supporting Oscar nomination.
Christian Bale gets the short end of the stick here as he is left to do little other than action scenes in his Bat suit. He really could have been anybody. In fact, at the end, I found his Batman voice to sound very similar to a professional wrestler’s.
There are some real twists and surprises that I won’t give up here. Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent, Gotham’s more conventional White Knight who initially does things the right way. I am glad that I am not as familiar with the Batman saga as other fans of the comic.
Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon is allowed to be fleshed out here and gives his character great strength in the face of some serious moral dilemmas. His character is given a speech that sums up the dilemma those who fight crime in the conventional way have with the concept of the “Batman”:
Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a dark knight.