This was my first Batman movie. Actually, maybe I’ve seen the one where Jack Nicholson pays the Joker, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I saw The Dark Knight voluntarily. Who could resist? It was played up so damn much by the media for being Heath Ledger’s best performance to date, it featured Christian Bale right after it was publicly known that he was batshit-crazy, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was there to tie it all down and be her badass self.
The Hollywood/press/general public “they” were right about Heath Ledger. Damn. It really just gets me depressed all over again. The only fitting element to this whol debacle is that he left on top.
What amazes me, first of all, is his ability to take essentially a comic-strip character, a person who doesn’t exist AT ALL, and turn him into a sociopathic criminal who probably scared the shit out of at least half the audience (admittedly, they may have been children who wanted to see “Batman,” not the “freaky guy with the bad makeup”). And secondly, Ledger took this monster and—oddly enough—made him sort of likeable, too. Because the Joker’s intentions were so transparent, and yet so unbelievable, we saw glimpses of tragic humanity, loneliness and anger, bottled up into a psychological deformity that only someone with an ounce of trouble could have channeled. And, from the information released after his death, it’s clear (regardless of Ledger’s cause of death) that he was troubled.
Christian Bale was sort of a joke, though. That voice? I’m sorry, but if I were Batman, I’d probably laugh during every take if I had to simulate Darth Vader every time I opened my mouth. It’s too bad, because it’s really distracting from an otherwise average (in a good way) performance. The point of playing the Batman character, I think, is not to stand out. It is to prove your anonymity, and Bale might have been on the verge of doing that, were he not forcing the air out of his lungs.
The makeup they used on Aaron Eckert was wicked. Actually, a little scary, to tell you the truth. Nice.
Heath, we still miss you.