The Dark Knight Rises (Movie Review)
Title: The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Excellence: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Summary in a Sentence: An excellent conclusion to the Christopher Nolan trilogy featuring the well-known comic book hero, featuring some surprisingly counterrevolutionary themes
I went to see this film a few weeks ago with my father and was rather surprised at how good it was. Not because I expected it to be bad -- I thought that the other films in the trilogy were also very well done -- but because it exceeded any reasonable expectations I could have for a mainstream film.
The film takes place eight years after The Dark Knight (2008); "a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy" (per IMDB). As with the previous Christopher Nolan installments, the film has a dark ambience, but not a bleak one. There is plenty of hope that good will triumph over the evil that threatens to overwhelm everything. The acting is excellent and the plot has plenty of twists and turns. It boils down to a very well-done good versus evil plot.
But what really surprised and interested me, was the heavy use of French Revolution tactics and rhetoric on the part of Bane in his terrorism of Gotham. The storming of Blackgate Penitentiary and release of the criminals therein was a clear reference to the storming of the Bastille, complete with Bane spouting rhetoric worthy of the Tennis Court Oath: "We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you... the people. Gotham is yours. None shall interfere. Do as you please. Start by storming Blackgate, and freeing the oppressed!"
The thing that makes it interesting, too, is that it's not totally black-and-white, and takes into account some of the complexities of reality, such that Blackgate, while housing heinous criminals, does so thanks to legislation that violates basic civil liberties. The film does an excellent job of showing the gross excesses of a French Revolution approach to things while acknowledging that the status quo frequently has problems as well. There is more that could be said as the anti-revolutionary tone of the film fascinates me no end.
It's definitely worth seeing, even if you're not specifically a Batman/comic fan as it's simply a good film.