Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

“Do you feel in charge?” asks the supervillain Bane in a gruff, mechanised-sounding voice, and trust me when I say this, it is the highlight of the new Batman film. Just before this question, the supervillain, played by very handsome Tom Hardy, wearing a mask that doesn’t reveal anything but his eyes and part of his shaven head, strangles a greedy corporate honcho, who screams: “You are pure evil.” Bane replies indulgently: “I’m necessary evil.”

This exchange sits alongside the now-almost-mythical “Why So Serious?” dialogue uttered by Heath Ledger’s Joker in the previous film in the trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight’. That film was a pop-culture legend, and after that, anything else would fall short.

To conclude the popular Christopher Nolan Batman saga, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, and how! He takes his own sweet time, and no one is complaining, especially you are seeing the film in theatre and your mobile phone is switched off.

There was a time when movies were in danger from television; if you can see it on TV in the comforts of your home, why go to a theatre and pay. A film like TDKR dispels this notion. You must see this film in the theatre to appreciate its sprawling canvas. It’s huge, not only in length, but also in scope and character. Beginning with a vertigo-inducing aerial action set-piece, reminiscent of the hotel shaft scene in ‘Inception’, to introduce the supervillain, the film takes to the streets of Gotham city, and its underground tunnels, and the Wayne mansion and the batcave, and a mythical well-like prison (where the Dark Knight “rises”, literally and metaphorically), which people are saying was shot/set in Udaipur in Rajasthan.

And let’s not forget the roll call of characters, old and new — Bruce Wayne/Batman, Alfred, his father-figure butler, the police chief Jim Gordon, another father figure, Lucien Fox, the super inventor, another father-like figure (Batman is after all is the story of an orphan finding his place in the world), Catwoman (Ann Hathaway, dazzling), a Robin-like rookie policeman, Blake, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, strong), and a mysterious Miranda Tate, all I can say is that she is not what she is (and lovely Marion Cotillard does whatever she can).

Now, does anyone cares about the plot-slot. Not really. It’s a Chris Nolan picture. So, you expect a logical storytelling, everything precise, everything is accounted for. It does.

The film was destined to be a blockbuster even before it was released, and it is, despite the controversy (the tragic killings at Colorado, US). If my information is right, the first major critic to pen the film was given a death threat via the web. Such is the zeal among fanboys!

Speaking for myself, I really don’t give a damn. There are better things to do in life than root for Batman. But, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ride the bandwagon, and to put my two-penny opinion, unlike the major critics who found Tom Hardy as Bane lacklustre, I found his performance, and also his accent, quite adequate for the narrative. It’s another thing that the print I saw had subtitles.

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