Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Seventh Full-Length Motion Picture Feature in Color

Pete and I, in conversation, exiting the theater after the new Batman movie in New York this weekend:
JACK: But I just always feel like there's something ghastly about movies like this, you know? The ones that show this moral degradation, and have characters having to face these terrible decisions. I think it's sick that people come up with it, and I think it's sick that they treat it like entertainment.
PETE: So you want to see it again?
JACK: Yeah, I'd see it again.
That's still how I feel about the movie. I'd read the reviews and I knew it'd be dark, so no surprises there, but something really rubs me the wrong way about lacing a blockbuster like this with moral depravity. It doesn't hurt the plot, for sure, to pump up the evil side of the good-versus-evil dynamic. But it's all for sport, and it's not really saying anything meaningful about the supposedly weighty themes it dredges up. And yet it maintains too dour a tone for you to just shrug it off as movie atmosphere. I don't like this. (A similar thing bothered me, and quite a bit more, in "No Country for Old Men," which is both sicker and ostensibly more serious. And "Dark Knight" at least has the courtesy to mostly avoid killing off innocent bystanders, generally limiting the carnage to criminals, cops, and public servants.)

Still and all, it's damn gripping, and Heath Ledger is amazing as the Joker (or was amazing, I guess you'd say), and when the movie lets loose into the action sequences it really rolls along, even if it's all two and a half hours long. So yeah, go see it. We didn't watch it in Imax (the one big screen in NYC having, weeks ago, sold out through August), but I suspect that would be overkill anyway.

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While we're on the topic, this trailer is probably worth watching, if for no other reason than because it's full of Adam West reading bizarre lines.


Blogger Dan B. said...

I suppose I'd feel that if the themes were being tossed off into the film as a grab for seriousness without being treated as actually weighty things, but I don't think that's the case here (and that may be where we differ). Also, I have faith in the filmmakers and audience to understand the nuances between fiction and verité.

Do you have the same difficulties in books, or even an opera like The Death of Klinghoffer?

8/02/2008 10:17 PM  

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