Monday, August 25, 2008

Dead Man Acting

Overlong, extremely ponderous, straining towards artfulness, and irritatingly murky, I (among the few I guess), found filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s latest go at the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight, largely disappointing. Despite Nolan’s talents, the movie seems to disdain narrative coherency (characters float in and out, scenes buck up short without achieving any dramatic frisson, while screwing the lid down tighter seems to be the only impetus for the storytelling arc), but the grisly rawness of the tale plus the cutting edge editing make a patented arty downer hiding under the colorful umbrella of box office boffo. All that is, except for Heath Ledger’s virtuosic and exquisitely calculated turn as the Joker. Imbued with a whole extra tone as one of the infamous (and infrequent) cases of a Dead Man Acting, Ledger, wobbling frantically, caked in white powder, muttering maniacally, manages to steal the movie without veering into hammy grandstanding. His full-blown anarchic spirit sticks in yer brain even as the movie dissolves from its own highbrow calculatedness.

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