I haven't seen the film so I don't qualify to judge but I jus found this
Times critique of TDK and it might help the noir discussion around it in
its own way..
From The Times
July 24, 2008
The Dark Knight
Heath Ledgerıs posthumous Oscar looks in the bag as The Dark Knight rewrites
the comic-book thriller genre
The late Heath Ledgerıs Joker makes Jack Nicholsonıs version look like a
badly drawn cartoon
You will feel utterly numb after the screening of The Dark Knight. The film
is bleak and brilliant. Batman is Hamlet and Heath Ledger is a sensation as
the Joker. The late legend doesnıt just steal the film, he murders it in
Watch how this cartoon serial killer comes to life. Look at the slithery
reptilian tongue. Why the garish slap, the pasty white face and sloppy red
lipstick? Aahh. It frames the extra inches of smile that his father carved
into his face once upon a time. You may never see an actor assemble a more
unhinged desire to avenge. He may well win a posthumous Oscar for his
performance. He certainly makes Jack Nicholsonıs Joker in Batman (1989) look
like a badly drawn cartoon.
Thatıs the horror and thrill of this film. You know the story: Gotham City
has grudgingly shifted into the 21st century. The usual crooks are still
trying to bankrupt the world. Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, aka Christian Bale,
thunders around in his bullet-proof costumes and fancy cars but people have
stopped believing in superheroes.
Thrillseekers wonıt be disappointed there are mind-boggling car chases and
explosions. But in its physical and emotional scale it all feels like a
Shakespearean tragedy or Greek epic rather than a film.
The Dark Knight is about grown-up Gotham. Idiots get killed impersonating
freaks such as Batman. And Batman himself is full of helpless unease. There
are no camp bat-cave jokes when an old flame, played by a sulky cop (Maggie
Gyllenhaal), is held to ransom by the Joker. She is deeply in love with the
cityıs dynamic new firebrand, district attorney Harvey Dent (a magnificent
Aaron Eckhart), who is the bright and eloquent future. Baleıs Batman boils
This emotional turmoil would mean nothing without one small and terrifically
seedy scene. Batman has lost control. His fingers are wrapped around the
Jokerıs throat in a police cell after another terrorist insult, and the
evil-doer is willing the caped crusader to beat him to a pulp. You canıt
slide a cigarette paper between the two damaged characters.
The Jokerıs request is frighteningly simple. All that stands between chaos
and order, and between the Joker and Batman, is for the latter to pull off
his mask and reveal himself. This seems to be the Jokerıs entire raison
dıêtre, and the existential crisis at the heart of the film. Batmanıs vanity
results in inexplicable horror. This is where Ledger takes control of the
³What doesnıt kill you makes you stranger² is a line muttered near the
beginning of the film that suddenly comes alive. The chill realisation that
Ledger has calmly laid ethical mind-traps under every gothic frame is what
makes Christopher Nolanıs film, and the actorıs performance, so powerful.
The parameters of the comic book blockbuster have shifted forever.
12A, 152 minutes
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