The Dark Knight Review
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Even before Heath Ledgerís untimely and tragic passing earlier this year, film circles everywhere were abuzz with news of The Dark Knight. During filming, it seems that at least one new behind-the-scenes photo made its way online every day. And after a year of nearly constant hype, itís pretty hard not to get just a little bit giddy over the filmís releaseóeven if youíre not a fanboy. Fortunately, though, it easily lives up to the hype.

In the follow-up to co-writer/director Christopher Nolanís Batman Begins, Christian Bale returns as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, who dons the bat cape and cowl at night to defend the city of Gotham.

Despite the best efforts of Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman), however, things seem to be getting darker and more dangerous for the people of Gotham. Mob bosses are joining forces to keep crime alive and wellóbut even their rule is threatened by an eccentric new criminal mastermind.

  
 
In his smeared face paint and purple suit, The Joker (Heath Ledger) may look like a clown, but heís anything butóand it isnít long before Gotham begins to spin wildly out of control. While some people look to Batman to stop The Joker, Batman believes that Gothamís new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), is the only one who will be able to restore order.

Iíve been staring at my computer screen for ages now, trying to figure out how to cover this entire 150-minute movie in just a few hundred words. Iím pretty sure itís an impossible feat. Because The Dark Knight is larger than life. Itís dark and brooding. Itís positively chaotic. Itís a mind-blowing, breath-taking thrill ride.

The Dark Knight builds on the intensity of Batman Begins. After all, the back-story has already been toldóand that leaves Nolan free to start the sequel with a bang. From start to finish, thereís rarely a break in the action and suspense. There are bank heists and car chases, explosions and shoot-outs. And the few moments in between are easily carried by a mesmerizing cast.

Bale is outstanding as the caped crusaderówho spends much of this grim sequel wondering if heís doing more harm than good. Oldman and Eckhart, too, give solid performances at Gothamís fearless heroes. But, of course, at the center of it all is Heath Ledgeróand his iconic performance as The Joker. Ledgerís Joker is often deceptively comicalóand thatís what makes him so very creepy. At times, youíll almost laugh at his outrageous anticsóbut then youíll remember just how unhinged and unpredictable he is. When Ledger is on-screen, the rest of the movie seems to blur. Youíll hold your breath, never knowing what this deranged genius will do next.

The Dark Knight is a stunning sequel, filled with twists and turns and head-spinning thrills. And when itís all over, youíll be left in a fog of euphoric exhaustion. But thereís just so much going on in this film that itís hard (if not impossible) to catch it all in one viewingóso youíll want to see it again. Just be sure that, at least once, you invest the extra few bucks to see it in IMAX. Itís worth every penny.

In fact, after seeing The Dark Knight, I could probably just as well hang up my notebook and call it a summer. I have a feeling that everything else will seem like The Love Guru in comparison.

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