Friday, July 18, 2008

A Clown Of His Word

Take it from an aging fanboy: Heath Ledger is the shit in "The Dark Knight." I know I'm the nine thousandth person to say so, but it doesn't make it any less true. Ledger's Joker is fucked up inspired; his lip-smacking, make-up peeling, twitchy psycho energy impossible to ignore. He's a fitting figure for our torture age -- or better, a theatrical extension of it. There are scenes where you feel edgy and uncomfortable, primarily one reminiscent of beheading videos out of Iraq. Yes, "The Dark Knight" touches on such themes. Not your average summer popcorn flick.

Christian Bale delivers once again, intense and twisted under the cowl. There are too many explosions for my taste, and before long they loudly blur into each other. But the strength of "The Dark Knight" is its performances, particularly Ledger's. You laugh, but it's nervous laughter, for you know that something insane is about to happen.* Even if you hate the whole Batman premise or summer blockbusters on principle, you should see "The Dark Knight" for Heath Ledger. He'll carve a wicked smile on your brain.

*In a weird sense, Ledger's Joker reminded me of IOZ when he speaks of the glories of chaos and the tyranny of schemes. That he's wearing a nurse's dress while doing so has more to do with the scene's purpose than with IOZ's taste in fashion, I'm sure.