Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight - 95%

I have stopped writing reviews for a while now, but a recent article on Straits Times really prompted this. Ong Sor Fern, a movie critic on Straits Times gave the dark knight a 3.5/5 score while Hellboy 2 gets a 4.5/5. She also complains that the Dark Knight is too long a movie. Having just watched it, I have got no idea how she came to her ratings and how she actually found this film to be too long. Now, I am not saying Hellboy sucks - I actually thought it was an excellent film. But I felt the review for Dark Knight from this reviewer was doing a huge injustice to a brilliant masterpiece that is not just groundbreaking in transcending genres, but also setting a new standard by which all future superhero, action thriller and cops/baddies movies will be judged upon.

This is the one of the best movie this year, and while everyone says Heath Ledger might get nominated for an Oscar, let me make another bold prediction. This film will also be nominated for "Best Picture". Gasp may I dare say it might even win. This is not just one of the best movie this year, this is definitely one of the best mafia/detective action thriller I have ever watched. Yes you read it right, "mafia/detective action thriller" I wrote. Halfway through the film, I lost sense of this movie as a superhero comic book franchise. The Dark Knight has been elevated by Christopher Nolan to more than just a comicbook superhero. Batman is now a man who struggles to question if he's own existence is a blessing or a curse to city that he tries to save. The other 2 "partners" District Attorney Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon are thrown into this cat and mouse game with the Joker where the stakes are very difficult moral choices to make. These moral choices that has to be made by these 3 characters are what makes it more than just a regular action film.

This film is also a character study. Of 3 righteous men trying to deal with a maniac killer, and the difficult choices they all have to make throughout the film. It is also intellectually superior to most superhero movies out there and it creates characters that we all can actually believe to be real.

For a movie like that, I would expect people to come out talking about how cool the gadgets was, how great the special effects was, how nice the suit was etc. But the fact that we do not get distracted by these "exterior" things goes to show how well crafted the environment, and the whole world was, that they blend so nicely with the characters that we do not question for a fact that we're watching a make believe movie. The world in the Dark Knight is so real you get immersed in it, and you get engaged by the characters that actually makes you care for them.

The performances by all the actors in the film are excellent. Batman played by Christian Bale was intense and introspective; Gordon played by Gary Oldman was desperate; Harvey Dent by Aaron Eckhart was multilayered; Maggie Gyllenhaal was tender yet strong; and of course the Joker played by the late Heath Ledger was terrifying. All the actors handled they part responsibly and gave very memorable performances. This is definitely an ensemble piece where everyone shone - very brightly.

As for length of the film which was a complain of the ST reviewer, I hope anyone who comes across my review would trust me on my assurance that it does not feel at all like a long film. In fact just check the numerous reviews online at and you'd find everyone praising the film to be extremely fast paced and intense. Ong Sor Fern must have been watching another film altogether.

The Dark Knight, is highly recommended. Please watch this film. Period.


thats me in the corner said...

yeah i second your opinion.

the only time i concur with Miss Ong was when she refused to watch the remake of Funny Games. the original was already manipulative enough.

and being a Batman comic freak, i can safely say that The Dark Knight is no longer a "comic-book movie". it stands by itself as an achievement in film-making on every aspect - basically it rocked!

my film of the year.


Yee-wei Chai said...

the last time i refused to watch something cos it was a remake, i thought it was very immature of me to do so. i felt i was very unfair and wrong to judge something without even watching it.

Miss Ong as a professional film critic shld have better professional ethics than to refuse watching a film with such a silly excuse

Anonymous said...

long meh?
where got?
I loved it and it was so good that I didn't even notice the time.
Xiao ah that girl?
It was a hellava good show and I recommend it too!

Chappy said...

@thats me in the corner: "the only time i concur with Miss Ong was when..."

Doesn't it make you nauseous typing that sentence out?

For anyone to actually concur with Miss Ong on any of her reviews is to either be high on drugs and alcohol or low of self-esteem...

thats me in the corner said...


well i did have a barf bag with me when i type that sentence out. ;)

Anonymous said...

If you don't know this already...

Ong Sor Fern is a lousy movie reviewer. This is confirmed by my journalist friends in SPH. How she got her job, or even managed to keep it, is a mystery.

Her 'reviews' (so-called) are misleading, subjective and out of touch. Don't take my word of it, dig through the past archives and read her 'reviews' for yourself.

The next time you want to see a review of a movie, go online - there're plenty of reputable movie reviewers.

No, I have not watched TDK (may plan to, or just get the DVD). No, I'm not a hardcore Batman fan. However, the astute moviegoer in SG would do well to totally ignore Ong Sor Fern.

Mockingbird said...

Heath Ledger was excellently superb as the Joker. But i still prefer Jack Nicholson's portrayal.

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jay paul said...

Nice and quite informative post. I really look forward to your other posts.

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