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Dark Knight, revisited


Last updated 12/11/2008 at Noon

From THE RECORDLIVE July 24, 2008

Saturday morning the tabloids, radio and television broadcasts were already heralding the magnificence of “The Dark Knight” forecasting it would over take “Spiderman 3’s” opening weekend record of over $151 million. Not only did the new Batman movie take the lead, it blew Spiderman off his web by more than $4 million in ticket sells in the first three days. On Regis and Kelly, Monday morning they said there were no tickets available in New York until 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“Oscar” seems to be the buzz word for the late Heath Ledger’s Joker. It’s not hype. It is without a doubt one of the most magnificent pieces of work that has been seen in years.

Most actors can only hope to have one role that defines their career. In 28 short years, Ledger will be remembered for two. In 2005, Ledger gained monumental fame with Brokeback Mountain. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you know about it. 

It’s ironic that both of the films that will be the catapulting force of his legacy co-starred a Gyllenhaal. In Brokeback Mountain, his character was entwined with Jake Gyllenhaal, while in “Dark Knight” he tormented Jake’s sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, as Bruce Wayne’s love interest, Rachal Dawes.

One critic said the performance was reminiscent of Jack Nicholson, but not as the Joker. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest was mentioned. It was closer to the deranged Nicholson in “The Shining.”

Nicholson’s Joker was a more controlled character that had a sick sense of humor. There was nothing funny about Ledger’s performance. As a more manic, chaotic character, you never knew what he was going to do next. There was no predicting in this film.

Without Ledger’s performance, it still would have been a good movie about equal to Batman Begins, but it was the Joker that took it over the top. You couldn’t wait for him to be back on the screen.

No one can foresee the Academy Awards, but if he doesn’t win an Oscar, he will at least be nominated.

I suspect there will be at least one other nomination in the offing for Knight. It would probably be a safe bet in Vegas to pick The Dark Knight to win the Oscar for make-up, and not just for the Joker’s visual presence.

Go see it for yourself. If your worried about a sell out on tickets, buy it on the web before you go. It only costs $1 more. Try a matinee, they’re not only cheaper, but less crowded.


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