My Favorite Films of the Last Decade #5

Alfred Pennyworth: …some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

5. The Dark Knight (2008)
– Dir. Christopher Nolan

I think I can safely say that this was my most anticipated film of the last decade. Yes, Batman Begins is great. But, The Dark Knight goes above and beyond, bolstered by Heath Ledger‘s incendiary performance as the Joker.

So, once again, I have to disagree with Bryan. In my book, there’s no contest, The Dark Knight trumps Batman Begins, hands down.

Seriously, is there really anything else that needs to be said about how amazing this film is? Nolan and company continue with their wonderfully naturalistic approach to the Batman mythos, expanding upon the world created in Batman Begins, enveloping us with a Gotham City firmly grounded in reality. At the same time, the film overwhelms the senses with a larger-than-life immensity, thanks not just to the IMAX sequences but also the performances.

Of course, Ledger’s is the standout performance. Shocking. Disturbing. Unnerving. What else can I say? His version of the Joker is truly terrifying. So raw. So real. So gritty. Inescapably visceral, there’s nothing cartoon-like about this Clown Prince of Crime. To look upon him is to look upon grinning death, to look upon the mouth of madness. To look into his eyes is to stare into the abyss.

Aaron Eckhart is no slouch either. His Harvey “Two Face” Dent is spot on. He perfectly captures both sides. Eric Roberts is great as Maroni. Also, I love how much more crucial Alfred is in Nolan’s Batman. I can’t decide if it’s the writing or Michael Caine’s performance that makes Alfred all the more important to me, either way.

As much as Ledger shines in The Dark Knight, the film feels very much like an ensemble piece. Everyone pulling their weight to make the film what it is. True to form, Christian Bale’s performance is anything but one-note. Gary Oldman is still exactly how I always pictured Gordon.

Not to diminish Batman Begins or the rest of the cast, the reason I so anxiously anticipated The Dark Knight is because Batman Begins was so good. To me, Nolan’s Batman series–so far–is on par with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part 1 & 2. And now I anxiously await The Dark Knight Rises; I doubt Nolan’s third installment will be as disappointing as The Godfather Part 3.

4 responses to “My Favorite Films of the Last Decade #5

  1. They should start showing this one week a year at every IMAX.

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Films of the Decade #5 | Shooting the Script | Cartoon World

  3. Just finished watching both of them again (like Pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop), and while I agree with all of your arguments, I still think the first was better. It’s probably because of Batman’s origin story and my abiding love of kung fu, because Katie Holmes has never helped a movie. The villain was villain-ier in the second, the romance less important, the ensemble participation greater. But the first Batman didn’t need to be an ensemble. It was about Bruce Wayne, and Christian Bale nailed it.

    Still, both movies are awesome, and I’m glad you both had the sense to include them. Kudos all around.

  4. Pingback: Top Twenty Films of the Decade – Recap | Shooting the Script

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