Wednesday, February 25, 2009

7th Art: The Dark Knight (2008)

This is the right opportunity to write about the excellent "The Dark Knight" (2008) in response to an interesting question by Ennyman, and as a reaction to how it was unsurprisingly snubbed by the Oscar "intelligentsia." It's an impressive movie, possibly the best Batman rereading since the revolutionary comic book by Frank Miller.

One of the reasons why I didn't write about it before is because you can find lots of great stuff yet available in the blogosphere. So, I'll just take a free ride and summarize a few posts that caught my eyes (there are many others, naturally).

Here's a post by "regardant les nuages" blogger Lindsey, which explores the moral dilemmas in the movie and also how game theory plays an important role in the story. She says:
The Dark Knight, what a movie. ... I only vaguely remembered the Batman movies of old, though I was always a fan. The new Batman movie, as you may have heard, is pretty intense (and dark) in comparison to the previous films. What I didn't expect, and this is always a delight, was that this particular summer blockbuster actually had some intellectual food for thought, philosophical issues at that. I was overjoyed. In fact, the movie happens to coincide quite well with a collection of essays that I'm currently making my way through (slowly, but surely, as always). The essays all focus on consequentialism, and for this post, I'll pay close attention to an essay by Bernard Williams called, “Consequentialism and Integrity.” ...
It makes for nice reading. Another great post on the movie was written by Ilya Somin and appeared on "The Volokh Conspiracy," here's a passage:
The Batman story is also an interesting quasi-libertarian commentary on the shortcomings of government. Like the Mafia portrayed in The Godfather, the necessity for Batman's sometimes dubious methods arises because of the government's failure to protect people and their property against predation. This point is effectively emphasized in both The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. In that respect, Batman is similar to The Godfather in conveying skepticism about government, its motives, and its ability to effectively fulfill even the core "minimal state" function of protecting the public against violent crime.
A recent post by Papermasks on "Kamikaze Kumquat" denounces the Oscar committee for being blind:
And, let's not forget that this role is pretty much what killed Heath Ledger. The man dies from all the trauma inflicted upon him from just pretending to be this crazed madman, and they give him "Best Supporting Actor"? Apparently, in order to get "best actor" you have to be either Tom Hanks or top dying from a role by maybe rising from the dead and healing the sick and bringing peace, joy, and bunnies to the world. And, I'm not so sure about the latter idea. That Oscar Committee is harsh and obviously populated by morons.
That's why the Oscar snub was totally expected. Who would ever think that today's Hollywood would be able to recognize a movie based on good acting, consequentialist moral dilemmas, good economics, public choice and game theory? I wouldn't. In the end, it's Jim's comment on "The Volokh Conspiracy" that solved the riddle -- why Hollywood Champagne socialists hate films like "The Dark Knight":
Most of the collectivist/Utopian characters with super powers have been villains. Nothing worse than someone willing to break a few million eggs to make their vision of an omelet.
But to be honest, collectivism goes against the whole individualist streak that comes with having vast powers. I think The Incredibles covered this angle really well.
PS: the "public choice" I referred to above is the economic theory of public choice. I don't think the Oscar should be determined by box office success; nonetheless, what used to make the Oscar the most important movie award in the past was the fact that it tended to recognize quality and public resonance, instead of serving primordially as a platform for irrelevant movies.

1 comment:

Fernando said...

Pedro,
tive a mesma impressão, um filme que achei o melhor do ano passado e de muito tempo, que me lembre.
Focaram muito, nas críticas, na atuação do H. Ledge, que relmente está muito boa, mas o elenco inteiro funciona extremamente bem e o Bale é o melhor Batman de todos, ator com qualidades de sobra que aparecem mesmo detrás da máscara.
Pra mim sobrou a impressão - a certeza, melhor dizendo - de que o melhor de tudo é mesmo o roteiro muito bem amarrado (morri de inveja da inspiração do roteirista que, sem ser óbvio, faz do filme um belo poema de mais de duas horas, a edição e montagem muito bem resolvida e uma história de tirar o fôlego, com espaço, sem excessos ou superficialismos, para idéias e desdobramentos meditativos. Tudo na dose certa e bem balancado, tão sutil que acho ter passado desapercebido, mesmo.
Cansei de elogiá-lo, maravilhado que fiquei - para a Suely e seus amigos num jantar. O trecho dos ref~ens nos barcos é especialmente tocante, pungente e trás uma enorme dose de esperança na natureza humana.
Impressionante como se pode tirar uma obra-prima de uma história batida e conhecida.
Evito comparações com o primeiro, do Tim burton, também muito bom, com o formato gótico muito atraente e um vilão também competente, mas cujo propósito era mais parecer mais caricato. Este não, é um épico narrado com rara maestria de quem consegue contar a mesma história pela centésima vez de forma melhor e mais genial do que nunca.
Gostei da sua crítica, além da bela lembrança. Achava que estava sozinho na apreciação do belo filme.