The Dark Knight Rises Film Review
Director: Christopher Nolan.
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Lewit and Marion Cotillard.
Here is Yellow Magpie’s The Dark Knight Rises film review.
The Dark Knight Rises marks the end of the extraordinary Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.
It has been eight years since the Joker terrorised Gotham and during the interim the city has enjoyed unprecedented peace. Crime is at an all-time low. Many of the thugs and criminals have been locked up under the Harvey Dent Act.
Nevertheless, a dark underbelly is fomenting as a new villain threatens to tear everything apart. Bane, a terrifying combination of brawn and brain, seizes control of Gotham through the aid of a fusion bomb after taking financial control of Wayne Enterprises.
A now bankrupt Batman, after being heavily injured, finds himself in a place he has never been before and seeks to rise again to save Gotham. Meanwhile, Wayne meets a cat thief who piques his curiosity as he begins to finally start to heal himself and rekindle his lost humanity.
‘Things that used to come as second-nature are more difficult for Wayne ‘
Christian Bale delivers a commanding performance as the tormented protagonist Bruce Wayne. After spending so much time out of Batman’s costume it becomes necessary to once more don the mask and cape. Things that used to come as second-nature are more difficult for Wayne as he struggles to adjust to the demands of being Gotham’s fallen hero.
Tom Hardy shines as the villainous Bane. Full of menace and armed with an arresting authoritative voice Bane is a scary figure that appears to be always in control. What’s more he seems to be always a few steps ahead of everyone else.
Bane is a very dangerous blend of different people. His antisocial characteristics are there for all to see as he regards human life as being cheap and disposable. Yet he also displays a great intelligence in order to plan such terrifying events for Gotham. Coupled to these traits are his social skills and his ability to psychologically understand people especially Batman.
It is the fact that he isn’t a sociopath or an autistic antisocial killer that makes him so dangerous. He manages to be both psychotic while retaining intellect and psychological insight – a potent combination.
‘Her character comes across as being almost permanently torn between choices.’
Anne Hathaway delivers a stand-out performance as Selina Kyle a complicated figure to say the least. Hathaway, in one of the best performances of her career to-date, gives Kyle a fiery unpredictable edge and the screen lights up when she appears. Her character comes across as being almost permanently torn between choices. Whether to put others ahead of one self or whether to choose a life of good over a life of crime – she appears to have difficulty in choosing which option to take.
Nolan and Hathaway manage also to deliver great subtlety and ambiguity. Kyle hints at a past filled with disappointment and pain without ever being explicit. Then there is also hints of a lesbian relationship with her friend Holly Robinson which complicates matters with in budding relationship with Bruce Wayne.
Joseph Gordon-Lewit produces an understated performance as police officer John Blake. A keenly smart individual beset by the tragedy of becoming an orphan earlier in his past, Blake provides insight into Bruce Wayne by acting as a mirror allowing Wayne to see himself clearly for perhaps the first time. Blake’s intelligence and ability to make sense of what is happening in Gotham and act accordingly sets him apart.
Miranda Tate portrayed by Marion Cotillard offers a solid performance as someone who seems to share Bruce Wayne’s moral values in altruism and looking after those who need help. Although Cotilliard is overshadowed by Hathaway’s stellar performance as Kyle.
‘Bruce Wayne undergoes a metamorphosis during the course of the movie.’
Alfred, expertly played by Michael Caine, provides deep-felt emotion as he tries to convince Bruce Wayne to put away the character of Batman and trust the people of Gotham to deal with their own problems. Failing to persuade Wayne to live his own life the two part company in an emotionally-charged scene that highlights the difference between The Dark Knight Rises and the two earlier films.
Bruce Wayne undergoes a metamorphosis during the course of The Dark Knight Rises. At the beginning he is subdued having voluntarily turned himself into a reclusive loner. Things begin to change once he encounters Selina Kyle. Becoming more and more free from his self-imposed emotional shackles Wayne actually starts to let go of the dark rage that has being consuming him for so many years.
What we begin to see is a new aspect to Wayne’s personality – maturity and self-acceptance. Finally he is ready to become a more-rounded individual that is starting to believe that there is an alternative to being Batman.
‘We don’t just see the character of Bruce Wayne we see a real person.’
What Christopher Nolan has managed to do is give depth to a franchise that is rooted in two-dimensional characters. He has taken what are essentially outlines of both personalities and plots turning them into something more reified and real. We don’t just see the character of Bruce Wayne we see a real person. Likewise the film is first and foremost centred around the story rather than action sequences.
Hans Zimmer’s score is also worthy of comment. A sumptuous blend of textured strings and powerful brass it exemplifies what is happening visually and is all that a good movie soundtrack should be adding to the drama without monopolising our attention.
Though the film is a spectacular success on many levels it does have one peculiarity that jars. A young boy with a very strong English accent singing the American National Anthem is very odd and briefly reminds those with sharp hearing that they are watching a film.
Despite The Dark Knight Rises having plenty of special effects and cool gadgets these are all of secondary importance to the story of Batman and Gotham. At its heart this is a tale about one man’s quest to quench the pain and injustice he has experienced since his childhood. Focusing on the core of who Bruce Wayne is Christopher Nolan has told a remarkable story that has set the bar for not just comic franchises but cinema in general.
You may also wish to check out Yellow Magpie’s Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows Film Review: Light Entertainment, Once Upon A Time In Anatoli Film Review: A Beautifully Shot Movie On Extraordinary Circumstances and Velvet Goldmine Film Review: Highly Engaging But Not Fully There.