October 1, 2008

Beyond Good and Evil

Finally saw Dark Knight.

Much has been said about the movie probably and so I will avoid the temptation to say more here; I don't do movie or book reviews well anyways! But I just wanted to share some thoughts I had this evening after seeing the movie.

For one minute, forget that the Joker is evil. Who then would you root for -- the poseur who hides behind his mask or the WYSIWYG guy?

To me, the movie through the Joker character attempts to shred apart the shams humans hide under and tries to expose the motivations that drive human enterprise.

Also, I am not sure if the millions of Americans who went to see the movie saw beyond the action and saw it as a criticism of the post 9-11 world we live here.

We live in a world when sometimes it is not clear who is right or wrong and sometimes one can become the other (Dent, in this case) going through an extra-ordinary about-face (*shudder*... forget Heath's makeup. That was quite a make up on Eckhart in the last part of the movie!). The bad guy strikes and takes his loved one and the paragon of fighting evil in Gotham suddenly loses it... blames all and sundry and then himself falls prey to the evil in him. In some ways, the movie is supposed to make you look within yourself and realize that at some level, maybe we are all two-faced...though not in the exaggerated villainous comic-book/movie sort of way. I was reminded of Nietzsche* with the dialog, repeated a few times in the movie:
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

In the end, sometimes though the good guy (Batman) may get the crazy terrorist (they even threw in the T word to describe the Joker's shenanigans, didn't they!) but at what cost? Your own soul has been corrupted in the process and your knight-in-shining-armor (Dent) has been rendered into a 'terrorist'.

The Nolan brothers tried to make this point with the whole two ships scene at the end too; though I think that scene (and whole last 1/3 of the movie) was a tad bit over done. Also, I found the whole ambivalence shown by the Morgan Freeman character about using surveillance to track the terrorists amongst us to be too preachy. (Ok..we'll use it this one time and then destroy it! What a cop-out!).

Anyways... I am sure all this has been said in the many reviews and hoopla following the movie -- but I am glad I saw the movie and went in without knowing what to expect.

Btw, I agree with most that it was an amazing performance by Heath, though the make-up helped! Wouldn't say it is one of the best acting performances I have ever seen but he's done a good job and given the emotional drive behind awarding the guy posthumously and the effort Warner Brothers is putting behind the movie for the Oscars, I think he's a shoo-in for the Oscar. I'd be surprised if he does not win; let alone be nominated, which he is almost 100% assured of at this point in time.


* He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.

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