By David Walsh:
The Dark Knight: Striving to be impressive, but essentially empty
25 July 2008
Directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer.
American studio filmmaking is in a terrible, terrible state. The current list of the 10 leading films at the box office includes three cartoons; two films based on comic books, and a third about an “unorthodox” super-hero; two remakes; an empty-headed action picture; and a film adapted from a Broadway musical based on 1970s pop songs.
At the top of the list, The Dark Knight, the second Batman film directed by British-born Christopher Nolan and scripted by him and his brother, Jonathan Nolan, has already been a financial triumph, bringing in a record $222 million on more than 9,000 screens in its first six days.
Various factors might account for this phenomenal success, including the lack of serious alternatives, the relative cheapness of movies as a form of entertainment and perhaps the impression of potential viewers that the latest Batman film was darkly comical, something disturbing but action-packed and intriguing.
In fact, in my view, The Dark Knight is a neither a good nor a serious film. It is ill-conceived and poorly done, overlong, confusing and emotionally muddy. The filmmakers apparently aspire to say something, but the comic-book adaptation is a limited form and, more to the point, one has to have important experiences and thoughts to say something interesting or enlightening about life.
Letters about this review: here.
Another, more positive, review of this film: here.
Another, still more sharply critical, review: here.
Heath Ledger, who played “The Joker” in this film: here.