Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Dark Knight with overtones of atonement?

Pete Myers:

One of the big themes, it seems to me, is the hero/anti-hero... with the play off between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. Who will be the real hero for Gotham? With the Macbethian slide of Harvey from near-perfection to crazed madness, and the true colours of the Batman tested to the limit, the crucial twist at the end of the movie is the Batman taking the guilt of Harvey's fall from grace upon himself. Of course, this for me defeats the entire moral point the whole film is trying to make.

The most unbelievable moment of the film, I felt, was when the people of Gotham are travelling on two ships, each armed with explosives. They have the detonator for the other ship. Unless they blow the other ship, the Joker threatens to blow them both up at midnight. Thus, this cinematic reversal of the prisoner's dilemma allows the writers to fire home their one big point about the nature of mankind: we're (well at least most of us) essentially good. But... if that's true... then it leaves one big question: if we're all essentially good, then why is Gotham so messed up?

--hence perhaps why Mark Kermode thought that this set piece could have been removed from the film altogether. Alongside such virtue...

The police commissioner can't trust a single person on his force... the city is in absolute ruin, overrun by crime overlords... there's not an honest person in Gotham. And - here's the killer - if the heart of the masses was essentially so good, then why do we need Harvey as a leading light, and the Batman as an atoning force?

Gotham's real problem them is the corrupt authorities, corrupted by their power? The criminal underworld is all but defeated by Harvey & The Batman by the time the film begins. So, bring on Joker fueled anarchy to bring down the schemes of the authororities so the good people can prove themselves? Hmmm.

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