Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises review

So, here we have it, the finale of Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy.
After the astounding The Dark Knight, with its show stopping performance from the late Heath Ledger, could this film in any way live up to the hype?
The answer is yes. Yes it could. In fact, in places it even surpasses what Nolan et al achieved in the previous two movies.
I’m sure you all know the basic premise by now. This is set eight years after the events in The Dark Knight. Gotham is at peace, thanks to the sacrifice of Harvey Dent... but that is all about to change. A storm is approaching Gotham. A storm shaped like an unfeasibly pumped Tom Hardy as Bane.
We first meet him in the jaw dropping aerial opening scene, which was filmed here in the Highlands. But it is when he gets to Gotham that things really heat up, as he sets about his plan to dismantle the city.
While this is happening, Bruce Wayne, who has been moping about feeling sorry for himself, encounters a young lady called Selina Kyle and the shenanigans start there...
There has been a lot of talk about the running time of this movie, and it is a long one, make no mistake. However, Nolan manages to cram in a hell of a lot of plot into it. An awful lot happens. I would desperately love to tell you some of the things that take place, but I will not. I will not even hint obliquely about any of them, because there are some great surprises in here. Some I saw coming, some I did not.
I mentioned Bane and Tom Hardy earlier, and really should give him another nod here. Hardy has a hell of a task here, acting in a mask throughout the entire movie, and talking with an heavily distorted voice (which is actually not difficult to understand), but he manages to do all his acting with his eyes – projecting all his emotion through them. It is a show stopping performance.
Show stopping, but not the best in the movie. For my money, that honour goes to Michael Caine. Caine, as Alfred the butler, gets a couple of scenes early on in the movie that are very powerful. In the hands of a lesser actor they could easily have slipped from pathos into cliché and ham, but Caine is masterful in this.
In fact, every performance is brilliant. Bale, Oldman, Freeman and the rest all bring their best to the screen.
But, is this the last in the series..? Nolan and Bale both say yes, and if they are telling the truth, it is a fitting place to end things. But there are plenty of threads left hanging if they ever want to pick them up again. And I for one really hope that they do.
I went to see the movie at Eden Court, which as you know is the venue for Hi-Ex! each year.
Rather brilliantly, after the movie, the charity The Bat Protection League had a table set up. Now, from what I had just seen, I would suggest that bats are not in need of that much protection...
And go see the movie!

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