Death Imitating Art

by Chris Bodenner
My favorite film critic, Christopher Orr, reviews the latest Batman:

The Dark Knight's villain may be a psychopath, but his tools are all too chillingly familiar: the thirsty knife, the patient bomb. (This is not a film for children, and the MPAA should be ashamed of its PG-13 acquiescence.) ... Nolan wisely minimizes the use of CGI (even when the semi is flipped), and the difference is palpable.

The director's most remarkable special effect, however, is Heath Ledger's Joker. It's a difficult performance to rate on any conventional scale, a whirlwind of energy and effects, tics and tells, Brando and Hopkins and Nicholson thrown in a blender set to "puree" and then dynamited mid-spin. To call it compelling would be a criminal understatement, and yet it seems less the creation of a living self than the annihilation of one, an exercise in the center not holding. Even without Ledger's death, this would be a deeply discomfiting performance; as it is, it's hard not to view it as sign or symptom of the subsequent tragedy.
In the end, The Dark Knight is less a film about good versus evil than about order versus chaos, a morality play into which a wild card, the Joker, has been inserted to devastating effect. ... But despite the tensions between its form and its function, The Dark Knight succeeds far more than it fails, and lingers provocatively in the mind.