The Dark Knight (12A)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byMatthew Turner22/07/2008

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 152 mins

Hugely entertaining, superbly acted and stunningly designed blockbuster that mixes adult themes with spectacular action and actually leaves you wanting more, despite its lengthy running time.

What's it all about?
Picking up shortly after Batman Begins, The Dark Knight opens with costumed criminal The Joker (Heath Ledger) executing a daring heist that nets him a stash of mob money. Naturally, this angers Gotham's criminal fraternity (including Eric Roberts as Sal Maroni), but Batman's recent crime-busting antics have forced them into a desperate position, so they accept The Joker's offer to kill the Caped Crusader, in exchange for half of everything they have.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Christian Bale) and Lieutenant Gordon (Gary Oldman) both decide to place their trust in Gotham City's new White Knight, crusading D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who also happens to be dating assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, replacing Katie Holmes), the woman Bruce loves. However, Dent's high-profile successes soon make him a target, putting him squarely in The Joker's sights.

The Good
First things first: Bale is good, but Heath Ledger is terrific as The Joker, completely justifying the hype around his performance – don't be surprised if he does indeed end up winning a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. There's also superb work from Aaron Eckhart (whose performance is at the heart of the film) and Gary Oldman, who brings warmth and humanity to Gordon, while Gyllenhaal, Freeman and Caine provide colourful support in key roles.

The film looks amazing, thanks to stunning cinematography from Wally Pfister, and it’s definitely worth catching in IMAX for its jaw-dropping city-scapes. In addition, the script is much darker than your average blockbuster, giving you plenty to chew over in the pub afterwards.

The Bad
To be fair, director Christopher Nolan still hasn't quite mastered action sequences – the fight scenes are still sometimes unsatisfactory and a central set-piece in a tunnel is practically incoherent, as you can never tell where the Batmobile is in relation to everyone else. That said, he more than makes up for it with several thrilling confrontation scenes and some superb editing throughout.

Worth seeing?
The Dark Knight may not be perfect, but this is still unmissable entertainment and it's worth seeing for Ledger's performance alone. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Dark Knight (12A)
The Dark Knight has been reviewed by 6 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 20/10/2017 04:31

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.