The Dark Knight Rises
Saw this yesterday with 4 people aged 17 and under. Christopher Nolan and co got a big thumbs up from them and me. Some sketchy notes:
Splendidly over the top, but with a big heart and lashings of style. Lots of threads tied together at the end. Full of big themes:
- redemption by (and of) a flawed and all too mortal a hero with complex and mixed motives;
- a battle for human nature. The movie gets how fragile is the veneer of ‘civilised society’ and explores what society might soon look like if that veneer is removed (big class struggle here – an undercurrent of rage against unjust capitalism in the light of the Crash?). The fascistic and apparently irresistible ‘will to power’ of Bane versus those who give their lives for liberty. Between those who cynically manipulate and intimidate and those who trust the people.
- of how evil cannot be controlled by money; of the uselessness of wealth to understand what it is dealing with in Bane.
- of personal moral choices: The lone individual living for the self or something ‘bigger than that’ – willing to die to the self, to live for something greater? And even the appearence of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done ….” to drive this secular servanthood theme home.
- of utilitarian ethics versus transparency and truth; pragmatism versus idealism
- a great line about hope and despair. When a hope is kindled and crushed, only then true despair flourishes. The power of hope to transform, to look to the future: the lifelessness of living in the past, without hope.
- an urban movie, with all the ambiguity of the city in full show
- and even an existentialist (literal) leap of faith to freedom, authentic because there was no rope to cling on to.
And if you don’t want to bother about all this reflective stuff; hey it’s great action movie that builds to a humdinger of a finale with a few nice twists.