Sky Movies Greats: Saturday 17 October, 11.10pm
“Theatricality and deceptions are powerful agents…” Christopher Nolan’s genius was to remove all vestiges of camp from the Caped Crusader. And so the chronicles could begin… again. But forget everything you thought you knew about Batman. Forget Adam West’s zap-pow comic-strip prankster from the 1960s.
Forget Michael Keaton’s neurotic screw-up from the 1980s. Forget Val Kilmer’s wooden wimp and George Clooney’s jut-jawed clown from the 1990s. Britain’s Christian Bale – beefed up from Reign of Fire and Equilibrium duties – fits the Batsuit to the manner born. Daringly, this Batman returns Gotham City to its rightful state of criminal grunge.
No Gothic cringe for this boy. Bale’s Bruce Wayne is an orphan out for revenge. This Batman is V for Vigilante. He saw his parents gunned down by a panicky mugger. Years later, lost amid the dregs of an Asian prison, Bale is recruited by Liam Neeson’s League of Shadows, a dubious secret police force high in the Himalayas.
Dark Knights Templars who have checked corruption for thousands of years. Good training facilities, mind, even if Neeson is a cruel taskmaster. With a destructive agenda, it turns out. Like Rome and Constantinople, reckons Neeson, Gotham’s time has come. Bale disagrees and returns home a changed man. In a change of costume.
Seeking to instil fear in those who prey on the fearful, the symbol Bale chooses reflects his own deepest fear. The Bat. “It’s time my enemies shared my dread.” Egged on by faithful family retainer Michael Caine, Bale finds his own personal Q in Morgan Freeman, whose warehouse is full of prototypes.
Useful tools against powerful foes. Like crimelord Tom Wilkinson, who keeps bad people rich and good people scared. And mad doctor Cillian Murphy, whose Arkham Asylum makes Bedlam look like Butlins. Bale rattles their cages. The cops look on in bemusement. “He’s driving a black… tank,” says a gob-smacked patrolman.
Ground-breaking British film-maker Christopher Nolan – director of the excellent thrillers Memento and Insomnia, canny conjuror of The Prestige, master of time and space with Inception and Interstellar – instils Bob Kane’s enduring comic-book character with a mythic sense of grandeur and purpose. The Dark Knight has been given a sombre sheen.
The humour is dry, the action is awesome. At times, it’s even horrific. When the Scarecrow’s panic-inducing hallucinogens kick in, it’s like watching Tales of the Crypt Crusader. This is fabulous film-making. A hyped-up event movie that actually feels like something special is taking place.
|Other Showings||Time & Date|
|Sky Movies Action/Adventure||Tuesday, 3 November at 9:00AM|
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