Sunday, July 27, 2008

Non-Essential Cinema

The Dark 'Not'

I just finished viewing "The Dark Knight". I downloaded a pirated copy of the film from the internet, exported it to AppleTV via Quicktime Pro and spent most of Sunday morning seeing what all the hype was about. I know this is 'illegal', but after watching all 2+ hours of it, I am certainly glad that I did not pay to see this. I was less than thrilled with the film.

While this movie is 'slick' with all the bells and whistles that Hollywood can throw in these days I found it disturbing on a social level. Lets face it, most of the people that line up to see this sort of manufactured entertainment at the cineplex are pretty malleable. They don't think for themselves, and tend to believe what they see on Entertainment Tonight, U-Tube, MTV and reality television. They watch what they think is their world and try to emulate it.

So while watching "The Dark Knight", I saw the same 'escapist' mentality that I have seen in "Pulp Fiction" and "No Country For Old Men". These are films where troubled characters are set against antagonists without consequence regarding their actions. Violence is never punished, in fact it is encouraged. There is no laws applicable to the main characters. No one is ever stuck in jail and left to sit there for 40 days until their arraignment. It is all action, plot twist, explosions and violence. What do the tweens lining up to spend their minimum wage earnings take away from this sort of entertainment? Very little I fear.

If that were not bad enough, there also seems to be a suspension of the laws of physics in these films that no one seems to question. When the Joker rigs up Gotham General Hospital to explode via remote controlled cell phone.....where did he find the time and the resources to rig these 48 explosive charges on all the floors? When he rigs the ferries to explode, how does he get all the 55 gallon drums of fuel on board and where did he get the fancy triggers for them? How is he is able to surgically implant a cell phone and explosives in a mental patient and come up with rocket launchers on short notice? Why is it that when an action sequence occurs among a crowd of police every officer is ineffectual in solving any of the problems? At this point, Star Wars is almost as believable as this film.

The acting was good, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are always fascinating to watch. Christian Bale is OK, and Heath Ledger was not all that impressive. It is much easier to play psycho well than it is to play smoldering and intense without all the manic behavior. I was more impressed with the dialog that the script writers were able to come up with along with the stunt work than I was with the acting.

I like my cinema to make me think and give me a glimpse of a larger world I have not seen or comprehended. This film didn't do it for me.