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Monday, June 27, 2022

Hollywood Rewind | The Dark Knight: The best of Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger

One thing is certain, a great superhero deserves an even greater supervillain and Heath Ledger certainly proved that with his performance in The Dark Knight.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
September 28, 2019 8:30:28 am
the dark knight Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his performance as Joker in The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight movie cast: Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart
The Dark Knight movie director: Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight movie rating: 5 stars

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stranger,” says the Joker in The Dark Knight. And someone who has seen death at close quarters will testify that it does have a traumatic effect on the soul and the mind. The thought and that image never truly leaves you, and this was showed with great skill in Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in the 2008 Christopher Nolan directorial The Dark Knight.

Ledger, as many would know, went on to win an Oscar posthumously for his stellar, determined performance in the movie. He was at once dramatic, scary, hilarious and dark. So many facets of the human character come through via Joker. He equated himself with the Batman, even ripping off a line from Tom Cruise starrer Jerry McGuire at one point in the movie — “You complete me.” Batman and Joker: they are the perfect foils to each other.

One thing is certain, a great superhero deserves an even greater supervillain and Ledger certainly proved that with his performance in the movie. His interactions with Maggie Gyllenhall’s character and his conversations with the Dark Knight gave us a glimpse of the sharp brain that lurked within the crevices of a ‘mad’ hatter.

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But as we praise Ledger, let us not forget what a generous performance Christian Bale gave. Not only has he been the best Batman to date in my humble opinion, the actor gave enough room to Ledger to spread his wings. The film went on to become a great success and earned one billion dollars globally.

However, the main credit goes to the captain of the ship, Christopher Nolan, who extracted the best out of his actors and gave us a memorable film in return. Every aspect of filmmaking was of supreme quality in The Dark Knight’s case — be it the soundtrack (courtesy Hans Zimmer), the cinematography (the sequences especially featuring the Joker), or the well-written dialogues.

Hollywood Rewind: Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

Sample this, for instance — “Because we have to chase him. Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now, so we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it, because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a Dark Knight.” (Lines spoken by Gary Oldman’s Gordon towards the end of the film).

That concluding scene alone could walk away with some prestigious award and I wouldn’t complain. It is sufficiently dramatic (this is after all, a superhero movie), but is not an overkill. The themes of sacrifice and heroism are highlighted in a matter of a few lines and so is Bruce Wayne’s character. He has always been what the Gotham City needed him to be — a messiah, a freak, a shapeshifter.

The Dark Knight is available for streaming on Hotstar.

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