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Bass, S.R. (2009). Batman: The Dark Knight directed by Christopher Nolan Warner Brothers, 2008, 152 min.. Fort Da, 15(1):119-133.

(2009). Fort Da, 15(1):119-133

Film Reviews

Batman: The Dark Knight directed by Christopher Nolan Warner Brothers, 2008, 152 min.

Reviewed by
Sharon R. Bass, Ph.D.

Getting Acquainted with the Knight

I recently ran across a story about a Native American tribal leader describing his own inner struggles. He said, “There are two dogs inside me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dogfights the good dog all the time.” Someone asked him which dog usually wins, and after a moment's reflection, he answered, “The one I feed the most.”

— Harold S. Kushner, Living a Life that Matters

… real tragedy is never a straightforward confrontation between Good and Evil, but is, rather, much more exquisitely and much more agonizingly, a conflict between two irreconcilable views of the world.

— Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost

Batman: The Dark Knight is a thinking person's movie, but it would be easy to miss this in the midst of the hype and hysteria that has surrounded the tragic and premature death of its star, Heath Ledger. The media response to Ledger's death fueled a stampede to the theatres that made this film one of the biggest box office draws ever, and the wattage of Ledger's performance, as well as the weight of his personal tragedy, threaten to overshadow the film's more subtle aspects — the intricacies of its characters’ psychologies and the subtleties and meaning of their interactions. This parallels the film's structure, which continually urges us to question appearances and look beyond the obvious. It directs our attention to the truths that crouch beneath what we see, not immediately visible, but prepared to pounce at any time to unsettle our fixed and overvalued ideas. The Dark Knight is a philosophical treatise on psychic life masquerading as a superhero extravaganza.

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