Heath Ledger, movies, The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight


My husband, my son and I went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight in Augusta. As much as I love to write and as much as I love movies, I suck at writing movie reviews, so I won’t attempt it. I’ll just tell you why you should go see this movie.

1. Heath Ledger’s performance.

Yes, I know I’m biased and, yes, I know it’s what everyone is saying. But everyone is saying it because it’s true. I expected to watch the movie with a tinge of sadness, knowing that it’s the last role he completed; but from the first moment he came onscreen I actually forgot that it was Heath Ledger up there. I forgot that he’s gone. He really was the Joker, in all his creepy, sadistic, hilarious glory. Simply put, he was brilliant.

2. Everyone else’s performances.

The returning cast–Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman–were superb; Aaron Eckhart was amazing, as usual; and Maggie Gyllenhaal was a welcome relief from Katie Holmes’ yawn-inspiring turn as Rachel Dawes. Even the minor roles were cast well.

3. Awesome special effects.

I usually blank out during car chase scenes, and big explosions don’t do much for me (I know I’m in the minority here), but Christopher Nolan knows what he’s doing. Even if you’ve seen the Eighteen Wheeler Flip Over in the trailer, you’re gonna be amazed by it on the big screen. And when buildings blow up…damn it, you feel it.

4. Oh yeah…and it’s a great story with lots of depth. More than the typical good vs. evil. More, even, than the now common blurring-the-lines-between-good-and-evil. And it’s entertaining, too.

As I said, we saw TDK at midnight in Augusta, Maine. Not a big city as cities go, and yet the two theaters showing it were chuckerblock full. (Apparently not an uncommon phenomenon.) When the credits rolled, there was thunderous applause. And when Heath Ledger’s name flashed before us, a group of comic book nerds (I use this term with honest affection) literally stood up and cheered, and the rest of us joined them. I’ll admit it: I cried right then. Partly because there were so many comic book nerds who originally balked (very frequently and very loudly) at Mr. Ledger’s being cast as the Joker, and this was a huge vindication for him. But mostly because that was the moment I remembered–again–that he’s gone.