Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)













The Dark Knight Rises
Year: 2012
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast:  Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman

Before I begin my review….
                Every so often I see a movie that reminds me and completely sums up why I love movies and writing about them so much. I am so happy to say that The Dark Knight Rises is one of those rare movies.

                I was completely speechless coming out of the cinema after this film. I just didn’t know where to start as to why this was such a brilliant film. Not only is it a brilliant film, but I loved it. That may sound ridiculous, but I believe you can acknowledge a film as being brilliant without actually liking it that much if it isn’t the type of film you actually enjoy. I really loved this movie.

                So I got to thinking. Yes, Heath Ledger was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as The Joker in The Dark Knight, but could a ‘superhero’ film actually be Oscar nominated?

                I was absolutely LOVE to see Christopher Nolan nominated come awards season for his The Dark Knight Rises direction. His direction in this film is better than his direction in Inception, which he was nominated for.  Yet, ‘superhero’ movies(in commas because it isn’t your typical superhero film we are talking about here, yet Batman is classified as a superhero) and often blockbuster films are snubbed by the academy. Not all blockbusters are exempted from nominations (for example, Avatar), but it is a rarity to see one right up there.

 I believe Nolan is completely deserving of a nomination here. What I love about what he has done with the last three Batman movies is that he took the films and put his personal directing stamp on each one of them. They weren’t like the previous Batman films which were typical of the superhero genre. He took the films and while providing the big action sequences and special effects that are typical of the genre, he bought great a great story and script, some amazing performances and that Nolan atmosphere of drama and thriller that is prominent in his films.

I’ve always been a Nolan fan, but after The Dark Knight Rises, I have no problem in saying that he is one of the greatest film directors alive at the moment. It would be like a welcome Christmas present come the end of this year to see his name up there amongst those names muttered during awards season…superhero film or not.

Review
There is no doubt, the last of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films is the greatest. He has saved the best for last.

Not only is The Dark Knight Rises the best of Nolan’s Batman films, it is a spectacular film in itself. You don’t have to be a massive Batman fan to enjoy it, but you do have to have some knowledge of the previous two films in order to completely understand what is happening. The direction, acting and screenplay are all impeccable and there is no denying that The Dark Knight Rises will be remembered and treasured for years to come…and there are not many films that will do that these days.

Eight years on from Harvey Dent’s death, Gotham City is in a state of peace and the one who was blamed for Dent’s death, Batman and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) have not been seen since. The peace is unsettled with whispers that underground terrorist leader, Bane (Tom Hardy) is on the rise and gathering forces. Batman once again shows his face, but soon finds that Bane is perhaps the most evil and deadly enemy he has faced.

Nolan is a genius. His direction and screenplay written with his brother, Jonathan Nolan in this film are superb. Scenes such as when Wayne and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) are doing their doe-see-doe at the fundraiser, the police car and motorcycle chase, Bane’s airplane adventure and when Bane is approaching the football field are just brilliant. The cinematography, character placement and accompanying sounds completely enhance the feelings that are to be evoked in these scenes. Nolan takes advantage of every little feature of every scene to get the most out of every moment of the scene.  His use of flashbacks to help tell the story is also very good.

Although a little on the long side, every scene is worthwhile and contributes to the story. There is no stone left unturned and no questions left unanswered. Everything means something. The story also pulls on information from the past films to contribute to the film as a whole. This is perhaps the only downfall of the film. You do need to see the two previous Batman films to understand what is going on. There is quite a bit of assumed knowledge, but Nolan still tries to help by using flashbacks and providing beneficial scenes such as the opening scene with Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman).

The story is very well composed. There are the twists and turns you would expect to find in a thriller film and when you think you have it all figured out, you really don’t.

The acting in The Dark Knight Rises is simply perfect. There is not one bad performance in the film and nothing left to be desired. Christian Bale gives his best performance of the three films by far. There are no longer any comparisons to Michael Keaton to be made, Bale is Bruce Wayne. Everything about his performance is the man behind the mask. You see him change from the reclusive millionaire at the beginning to the high flying business man once again to the man with the tough exterior who is on a mission. And then of course, there his better than ever Batman.

It was reported that Anne Hathaway was worried about playing Catwoman and bring compared to Michelle Pfeiffer’s role in Batman Returns. She clearly had nothing to worry about. She fits the role perfecting acting wise and physically. Like the traditional Catwoman, you never know where her true loyalties lie.

Both Gary Oldman and Michael Caine also bring their best Batman film performances to the table. Oldman is always likable and you want to cheer for him as much as the masked hero. Caine just shines as Alfred. You have no problem believing that he truly loves Bruce Wayne like a son and he has some completely heartbreaking moments.

Tom Hardy. Terrifying. The man had massive shoes to fill as he is the main Batman villain to follow on from Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Hardy’s Bane is what nightmares are made off. The man behind the mask with the booming and intimidating voice is the villain who the audience believes could really beat Batman. It is always a great thing to give a performance where you can’t see their whole face, but tell just from his eyes exactly what is going on in that head of theirs.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt also has to be paid credit to. He is no longer the little boy who we saw in 3rd Rock From The Sun all those years ago and can swing it with some of the biggest names in acting on the planet. He is completely believable in every way as John Blake, the policeman turned detective that James Gordon takes under his wing.

The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect end to Nolan’s Batman films. The trilogy is rounded up in the best possible way and we have in fact witnessed a classic.
9.5/10


References
The Internet Movie Database
Sky News
Photo Credit- Wikipedia

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