Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Dark Knight, the dark side of Batman

The mist has descended sweeping over from the North Sea and lingered all day. It was cold out but the journey was successful as Wilkinsons’ had some more of the 40 page black volumes and I also acquire to more reds. In the market I bought a new credit card holder for £2.99, leather covered and made in china. I did not bargain although I suspect I was paying top price. There was little trade for anyone on a miserable day. Not one but two people came out with dogs on the extended leads in the town centre. In the first instance a small animal went up and worried a larger one and the owner did not reel his animal in causing the young people to comment that the individual was stupid and a menace. Then on the return journey a man came by from a side alley with his animal on an increasing extended lead nearly tripping up a young bout out walking with his father. It is one thing to take the dog on these leads for a run in the park or on open land but another in a busy high street full of children excited about the first day of their Easter Holiday. There was second cause of a moan in that the post box I use was not emptied on Saturday morning as it should and was choc a lock so that I could remove the letter I was posting it was so full. This is disgraceful. I came concerned because I thought I had not posted back the DVD intending to take it to the central post office posting box. When I got there I could not find it and wondered if it had fallen from the haversack which I brought with me using the carrying grip. If it has fallen onto the pavement somewhere, identifiable as a DVD a curious passer by, especially if young, could have opened to see the contents and that would have been that.

I enjoyed my food today. A Chinese chicken stir fry followed by a banana. A small Cumberland Pie after a small soup and followed by fresh fruit salad. A small bottle of water. Coffee early morning and again in the evening with a Hot cross bun.

I have discovered the culprit disturbing the gravel between the patio paving stones and who disturbed the late planted bulbs. It is a medium sized black bird possible creating a nest on the ledge at the open end of the covered garage area. I keep the trays for the pots well watered. I shall keep providing water and will buy some feed.

This afternoon I watched a very dark film which the critics all gave praise. The Dark Knight, the Batman’s film in which Heath Ledger gained a posthumous awards for his performance as the Joker. There are those who will enjoy the film because of the long action sequences with lots of shootings and explosions. Some will applaud the fact the Joker wins more than he loses, causing death and destruction but more importantly the crushing of idealism, belief the good will triumph and the evil punished and damned and the corrupting of the just and the honourable. Hopefully they are a minority.

The city continues to be dominated by criminal gangs involving some six hundred men who are all arrested at one point and held in custody. This is possible because a captured villain is promised his life if he turns the rest in. The Joker enters the film in spectacular fashion breaking into a bank with a captured city bus in order to transport the large bags of money which his assistants have removed from the bank vault, killing each other in the process and with the Joker ensuring that he is the only one to drive off with the money. The money in question, as at the other banks raised belongs to the city criminal gangs. How the Joker did this is left for the audience to ponder as the bus appeared able to crush walls as well as door!)

The accountant for the gangs, fearful that all the money will be taken removes it into his safekeeping and disappears to Hong Kong where he is tracked down by Batman and returned to Gotham City where he is persuaded to reveal the identities of the gangs leaders and their principal assistants and the information on their criminal dealings. The Joker offered to help the gangs if they agreed to his leadership but he is spurned in the first instance.

Batman has become concerned about his continuing role as action man superhero even with the constant support of his father figure butler and companion played by Michael Caine. He decides to groom the city’s District Attorney, Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart as someone who can become the guardian within the law after hearing him speak in the presence of his girl friend and former friend of Batman, Rachel Dawes played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. However this makes the man a prime target after the mobsters first hire the Joker to kill Batman and the traitor accountant. The Joker threatens to kill one person a day until Batman reveals his identity and this includes the Police Commissioner and the Judge who is keeping in custody the men named by the mobster’s moneyman accountant, and they are killed under instructions of the Joker. These deaths prompt Batman to decide to reveal his identity. But before he can do this , the District Attorney pretends that he is Batman in oder to make himself bait for Batman to capture the Joker. And this appears to work as the Joker is cornered during his attempt to capture the District Attorney on the way to the prison by Batman with the help of Gary Oldman who plays a police Lieutenant, one of the few in the force not corrupted. He is made the new Police Commissioner.

However Joker planned to be captured in order to escape with accountant for the underworld. Worse is to follow because before escaping he reveals that the District Attorney and his girl friend have been betrayed by corrupt police officers and are now tied to bombs at some distance apart in the city and only one can be saved by Batman. He must chose who is live and who is to die. The District Attorney tries to set the bomb off early to protect his girl friend but Batman decides that he is the more important of the two be saved while the Police Commissioner unsuccessfully attempts to save the girl friend. Both fail because although Batman is in time to release the DA half his face is blown off so he becomes Two Face, set on revenge and losing the very standards he once proclaimed. Even worse is to come because Joker orders everyone to obey him or leave the city but he limits the number who can leave this attaching explosives to the cities bridges and railways so the only way out is on two large ships and on one of these are the gangsters that the police chief does not want released to the Joker. However Joker has this covered as the boats are also wired with bombs to go off at midnight, but one boat can be saved if it detonates the bomb in the other and to make this democratic Batman has provided the passengers and crew of both boats with detonators. However me miscalculates because the people on the boats are the remaining good guys with consciences and standards and although they are afraid and want to live neither boat is prepared to explode the other and this including the gangsters.

To make the remaining good cops and medical and other public services officers occupied Joker also announced he has mined a hospital so there is an all out effort to evacuate patients including the general hospital where the DA is recovering.

Aware that he is facing his cleverest opponent Batman has arranged with the Chief Executive Officer of his company, played by Morgan Freeman, to develop a new computer system which can listen to every telephone and digital unit of communication in the city. The systems is encoded and designed so only Michael Caine can use and he threatens to walk out because of the breaches of privacy involved. He agrees to use only once to find the location of the Joker and save the two boats although they are not able to prevent the spectacular blowing up of the city hospital.

The film is therefore full of moral dilemmas. Is it Ok for anyone to have such power over others when for example action leads to the deaths of innocents in the name of the greater good, and similarly should cherished freedoms and rights be taken away in order to capture villains and prevent major violence and death? Is any human being capable of withstanding blackmail, if for example their partner and children have been taken hostage, or other close relatives? The film is very dark because it appears no matter what one does, the evil triumph over the good. Few people are able to withstand extortion, blackmail, terror campaign without themselves becoming part of the culture they oppose. I am not sure if raising these issues turns a super hero comic caper into a great film. It was a very commercial success cost under $200 million dollars to make and raising $1 billion at the box office, only the fourth film to do so. The film was shot in Imax and advance doubled to complete sell outs of opening nights which took place at midnight in 3000 theatres grossing more than film on firs and then first weekend day. The critics also loved the film with some thirty placing it in their top ten and 8 as the best film of the year. The film was nominated for 8 Oscars and won two Heath Ledger for Best Supporting actor and Richard King for Sound Editing. Nominated for nine BAFTA’s Health Ledger again won posthumously and also a Golden Globe. It received hundreds of nominations world wide from various organisations and guilds winning several.

24 hours is also a dark series with USA state controlled by an ambitious and wealthy individual with his own private army and base used and encouraged by the state. The President’s are shown to be weak and ineffective in a crisis and too influenced by family members. As in Batman no one in authority can be trusted with one exception of course Jack Bowers and even he knows he has crossed the line, fighting fire with fire, in this instance intimidation and torture. The series also poses the question How can the contemporary terrorist be stopped? Especially when they have shifted from nuclear devices to biological weapons!

Lost continues to provide surprises such as a young Ben aged 12 years being shot in one dimension to which various key members of the cast find themselves locked into while Ben is also shown as the adult in real time after the second plane trip in which John Locke who he has killed is alive to confronted him, but they are not on the Island but in the middle east where the plane came down, or did it?

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