Holy shit, Batman! The Dark Knight is, without a doubt, the best movie of the year (so far). It's not even really a "superhero" movie, but more of a crime thriller where the main character has badass armor and a cape. All of the action revolves around a few plots; the mafia hiding their money from the authorities, and the love triangle made of Bruce, Rachel, and Harvey, but most importantly, the emergence of the the Joker.
The writing is amazing. The dialogue is sharp and startling (specifically from the Joker, but from the rest of the cast as well), and, even with such a long running time, the story points come at you in such rapid succession that you literally never know what's going to happen next.
The performances are spot-on. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a vast improvement over Katie Holmes from Batman Begins. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Cane, and Morgan Freeman do their thing and do it well. The shining stars of this film, however, are Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and Heath Ledger as The Joker. Aaron Eckhart's tragic portrayal of Harvey Dent was surprising to me. I'm not a fan to begin with, so it seemed like he was going to be the weak link here. His subtle decline from Gotham's "White Knight" to, well, what he becomes, was handled perfectly.
In one of the best performances... in any movie... ever(?), Heath Ledger scared the shit out of me. He created the most frightening version of this madman ever put on film. When he decides it's time, this one man plunges Gotham into complete and total chaos, just for fun... or to make himself feel better. Some people think that the movie loses steam when The Joker isn't on the screen. I don't but I can understand why they do. The Dark Knight is quite heavy but for a few chuckles here and there, but Heath Ledger had such a presence, between his performance, his make-up, and his dialogue, that a weight was lifted when he was on screen. While it made you anxious because you didn't know what he would do next, he added such a dark humor that you would find yourself laughing at things he said or did, that you definitely shouldn't be laughing at. I can't think of any performance this year that deserves an award more than Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight. It's truly sad that he won't be there to accept it.
I can't remember the last time I was this excited to see a movie. I started to try to convince myself that it was going to be terrible just so that I wouldn't be disappointed. Try as I might, I was still on the edge of my seat when the movie started and I didn't sit back once (metaphorically).
The Dark Knight is almost, if not perfect on every level of it's multitude of levels and if you don't see it, you're missing out on what may be the best movie of the year.
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