Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Yön ritarin paluu / The Dark Knight Rises [Swedish title].
    US/GB © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures Funding, LLC. P: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas.
    D: Christopher Nolan. SC: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan – story: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer – Batman characters: Bob Kane. DP: Wally Pfister. Camera dept: huge. PD: Nathan Crowley, Kevin Kavanaugh. Sup. AD: James Hambidge, Naaman Marshall. Set dec: Paki Smith. Art dept: huge. Cost: Lindy Hemming. Cost dept: big. Makeup: Luisa Abel. Hair: Janice Alexander. SFX sup: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, team: big. VFX team: huge. VFX companies: Double Negative, etc. Stunt team: huge. M: Hans Zimmer. S: Richard King. ED: Lee Zimmer. Casting: John Papsidera, Toby Whale.
    C: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne), Gary Oldman (Commisioner James Gordon), Tom Hardy (Bane), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Robin John Blake), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle), Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Michael Caine (Alfred), Matthew Modine (Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley), Alon Aboutboul (Dr. Leonid Pavel), Ben Mendelsohn (John Daggett), Burn Gorman (Stryver), Liam Neeson (Ra's Al Ghul), Cillian Murphy (Dr. Jonathan Crane).
    Loc: New York City, Los Angeles, London, Nottingham, Glasgow, Newark, Pittsburgh, Jodhpur. 164 min.
    Relased in Finland by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Tommi Lupunen / Emilia Nilsson. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 1, Helsinki, 30 July 2012.

Technical specs from the IMDb: Camera: IMAX MSM 9802, Hasselblad Lenses, Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, Panavision C- and E-Series Lenses, Panavision Panaflex System 65 Studio, Panavision System 65 Lenses. – Laboratory: Consolidated Film Industries (CFI), Hollywood (CA), USA (IMAX prints), Technicolor, Hollywood (CA), USA (also prints). – Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219), 65 mm (also horizontal) (Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219). – Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (master format) (some scenes), IMAX (some scenes), Panavision Super 70 (some scenes), Panavision (anamorphic). – Release format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision 2383), 70 mm (horizontal) (IMAX DMR blow-up) (Kodak Vision 2383), D-Cinema. – Aspect ratio: 1.44:1 (some scenes: IMAX version), 2.35:1.

Official synopsis: "Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy."

"It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act."

"But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane." (Official synopsis)

The previews in the screening included Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Ted, the Total Recall remake, and The Bourne Legacy. Little danger of highbrow culture here.

Although the screening lasted three hours I never glanced at my watch.

Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is the fourth cycle of major film adaptations of Bob Kane's characters, and as a whole it's the strongest of them all. Before Nolan's films my favourite had been Tim Burton's Batman Returns, but I'd need to see it again.

The cycle, especially this finale, is incredibly dark and pessimistic for mainstream entertainment. The screenwriters may have been influenced by the James Bond super adventures (the plane hijack pre-credit sequence, wonder gadgets including weapons and vehicles, the underground lairs, the supervillain's mad master plan, the supervillain's female accomplice switching to the hero's side, the race to the rescue with the atom bomb, the outlandish and overblown quality of the fantasy) but the overwhelmingly sinister doomsday mood is something completely different.

Batman has been so badly injured that Bane seems to be an absolutely superior foe, especially when Selina Kyle cheats Batman twice: first by stealing his fingerprints with the help of which his financial empire is crushed, and secondly by luring him to Bane's underground empire where his backbone is literally broken. At the same time Alfred has left.

The Dark Knight Rises is a vehicle for fantasies of power and destruction. It is full of topical references: epic fraud in the stock exchange, identity theft in the cyberworld, the impossibility of a clean slate in the age of the internet, torture by liberal governments, large scale terrorism, and nuclear powerplants recycled as nuclear bombs.

Batman has become a depressive figure. Selina Kyle is first on Bane's side but turns to Batman's side and it is she who kills Bane and saves Batman. But Miranda Tate, Batman's original love interest, turns out to be the real master criminal, Bane's boss. The atmosphere of distrust is so pervasive that it makes the "romantic" relationships seem hollow. The most sincere characters are Alfred and Blake. Even Gordon has compromised himself in maintaining the myth about Harvey Dent. Blake's disappointment is so profound that he throws his badge to the sea and takes steps to become Batman's successor as Robin. The story's logical tragic ending would have been that Batman sacrifices his life with the detonation of the neutron bomb that he takes away from Gotham City, but there is a bonus happy ending.

Fatherlessness is a basic theme: for Batman, for whom Gordon was a father figure, and for Blake, for whom Batman is a father figure. In a more confused way it is a theme also for Miranda and Bane.

The film is well cast. Christopher Nolan is a good director of actors, and they make up an excellent ensemble. The art and costume departments are impressive.

Memorable quotes: "There are no fresh starts in today's world" (Selina Kyle's dilemma). "The mask is not to protect you but the people close to you". "There's more to you than that" (Batman to Catwoman). "Innocent is a strong word around Gotham".

There is a lot of implied violence in the movie but no blood or splatter because of the PG-13 rating. There is an atmosphere of doom and terror but the gory, visceral reality of violence is omitted.

There are many fight sequences, but because of the rapid cutting and the PG-13 mandate they are usually impressionistic. It is unclear what is exactly going on and impossible to tell whether the actors do any of their own stunts.

Christopher Nolan is a champion of photochemical film, and The Dark Knight Rises has been shot on IMAX horizontal 65 mm and 35 mm film. I look forward to seeing it in IMAX. In this 2K DCP presentation the visual quality is less than brilliant. It is a letdown in comparison with the superb visual quality of Inception. But also in The Dark Knight I was annoyed by the transitional quality of the digital intermediate.

1 comment:

Pa Ul said...

Great blog post to read. Today, I just watch this movie and wondering why did the Dark Knight rises.