I finally found a reviewer to help with my Batman: The Dark Knight thing. It’s OK if you’re all sick of it, but this guy is really good. He rests on the thread of sacrificing full disclosure for the sake of order: Alfred’s burning Rachel’s letter, the surveillance technology, and of course the climax. His reviews of The Dark Knight and of the Joker character are definitely worth ten minutes. Quotations after the jump if you don’t have time for the whole articles.
“On one hand his is a story of spirit without apologyâ€”a man willing to bear the weight of hatred and â€œbe the villainâ€ in order to truly be the hero. But I also donâ€™t feel completely comfortable with his willingness to deceive the publicâ€”to keep them from the horrific truths that he is somehow uniquely able to bear. It is a dangerous thing to designate oneself as somehow more capable of dealing with truth than the â€œaverage Joesâ€ of the world. Dostoevsky could tell you that. So could Shakespeare. And if Batman continues down that path, heâ€™ll become in truth the villain he is now only pretending to be.”
“Portrayals like thisâ€”where evil is totally unexplained and yet so thoroughly convincingâ€”are far more disturbing than the â€œlook what happened in my childhoodâ€ villains of the horror film pantheon. Ledgerâ€™s Joker reminded me of Javier Bardemâ€™s Anton Chigurh, or even Daniel Day Lewisâ€™s Daniel Plainviewâ€”other recent embodiments of amoral men wreaking havoc, death, and destruction in the worlds they inhabit… What is it about seeing evil so convincingly rendered on screen that attracts our praise? Why are there so many more â€œtour de forceâ€ performances of dastardly wretches than there are of good people? Indeed, why is it so hard to evoke a convincing portrayal of good, pure, moral characters in film and literature? Dostoevsky tried it in The Idiot (in the character of Myshkin) but ultimately failed. Is it even possible to evoke a righteous person as convincingly as an evil one?”