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The Dark Knight

Oh where to begin...

And you all thought Christopher Nolan can't tell a straight story. Apparently he can, as The Dark Knight follows a more linear narrative path than its predecessor.

Of course, the glory shouldn't all go to the director (where would he be without the actors?), and let me tell you that all of them were brilliant. All of them. So let's go through them one by one, as there are only a few of them anyway.

Christian Bale: Mr. Bale (who gives meaning to the word "man-crush") was the embodiment of what a billionaire playboy should be─cool, rich, and good-looking. And he fights crime too. But that Batman voice of his─you can justify it as Bruce Wayne's way of protecting his identity.

Gary Oldman: The ultimate team player. Gary Oldman knows how to pace his acting. For loud roles, he becomes wild and obnoxious; but for subtle roles, like soon-to-be Commissioner Gordon (spoiler warning!), he just blends in. No overacting, and no underacting either. Just perfect. A possible contender for the Acting Hall of Fame.

Aaron Eckhart: Again, excellent acting (did I mention how many great actors this film has?). Okay, everybody knows Harvey Dent will become the villain Two-Face, but I'm not spoiling anything. All I can say is that his transition from good to evil was well-portrayed. You'll finally understand where his hatred comes from.

Michael Caine: That's Sir Michael Caine to you. You would think that a knight would hog the spotlight, but if there is anything that Caine knows how to do, it's stay in the background. And he does it really well. Though of course you really can't get rid of that sophisticated British accent.

Morgan Freeman: Again, Morgan Freeman is just Morgan Freeman. Not really a bad actor, but somehow he will always be Morgan Freeman, on and off screen. Does that make any sense?

Heath Ledger: Last but definitely not the least, Heath Ledger delivers a performance worthy of an encore. He leaves us with a bang, at the top of his game, and no one should be allowed to top his role as the Joker, as it would be a desecration to his memory. I say let the Joker role die with him. Anyway, you will be so mesmerized by his performance that you'd even forget he was Heath Ledger. Every second of that guy's screen time is worth millions. May God bless his soul.

And finally, the women of Gotham─wait, there's only one. Ms. Maggie Gyllenhaal steps into the void created by Katie Holmes, who starred as the original Rachel Dawes. But honestly, I see no real impact that this character brings, aside from being the love interest of both Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. Which strongly suggests that Gotham might indeed be a man's world. My movie buddy in fact couldn't stop swooning over all the men─she swooned over Bale, Eckhart, Ledger, even Oldman. Which of course was nothing to how I swooned over Bruce Wayne.

Now story-wise, The Dark Knight might seem to be a tad too long, running two and a half hours. Quite noticeable is the denouement. The average movie-goer would expect the action to slide down at around the two-hour mark, but the prevalent theme is "Wait, there's more!" The action rises and falls, then rises again, then just when you think it'll fall, it rises again. A bit tiring for the average viewer, but again, the die-hard fans won't even notice it. But the title is very apt, as nothing comes close to the darkness painted by Nolan─for starters, we have a lot of deaths, and near-deaths (spoiler alert number two!), but the character of each and every individual in the story is totally fleshed out. They become real, and veer away from the realm of comic book superheroes to the real world.

A toast to Nolan, for a successful sequel. But we must all realize that the success of The Dark Knight would not have been achieved if it wasn't for the failure of its predecessors. Only by portraying Batman in several not-so-good adaptations does this franchise successfully reinvent itself.

Oh, and Christopher Nolan doesn't go linear all the way. He slips into his trademark non-linear style in the last ten minutes of the film. I guess he just can't help himself.

Rating: Five stars.


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