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July 19, 2012 Posted by admin in Reviews

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises European Premiere

 
Wednesday afternoon and Leicester Square is a-buzz with the final touches to the latest and final Batman premiere production.
Sat Bal was at the screening. (19 Jul 12)

Daytime TV is famously the home of benign programming and gentle, but persistent, advertising.  It’s also a great place to chuckle at re-runs of the original Batman series in all its SPLAT! KAPOW!  OUCH!  glory.

Films, of course, reflect their time and the sinister turn of real-world events since Robin leapt around in dayglo tights is amply reflected in Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises.  Director Christopher Nolan envelopes the themes of terrorism and financial fraud in grand scale here with the fictio-literal destruction of Gotham City.

The screening at the Empire Leicester Square starts with a spotlight beaming onto the stage and the film's cast present themselves to the audience, led by Christian Bale.  A brief welcome later and the cast files back to assigned seats to watch themselves projected in superhuman scale to an auditorium of mostly strangers. Now those thoughts would be worth reading...       

Our attention is turned to Bale as Bruce Wayne confronting the newspaper headline ‘From Billionaire to Bum’. Not only is his playboy status gone but so is his gait as evidenced by pronounced limping. Stripped of his wealth, health and status Wayne is also shunned for the death of former crime-fighter Harvey Dent.

The reclusive Wayne falls literally rock-bottom when he’s later confined to a deep pit, his daily focus to climb out of that unforgiving tubular imprisonment. The metaphors run as deep as that pit; man with a long climb back to normality, such that it is. Modern-day pit candidates flicker into mind: Murdoch, Madoff and innumerable expense-fraud politicians. The question then is about having the strength to emerge from the pit, whether it's of one's own making or not. Can Wayne do it? Can you do it?

If that sounds a little overkill for what’s essentially a comic book adaptation then it’s probably because Christian Bale knows how to dupe us into a semi-belief - who thinks he’d rescue 50 Shades with the  Mr Grey role when casting starts?   

On a cinema experience level it’s easy to like this film and enjoy the screen effects while crunching on the family bags of Maltesers placed on our chairs (sssh!). It doesn’t call for a great deal of thought and the sometimes twisted plot is compensated for by dynamic visuals.

The baddie, Bane (Tom Hardy), is probably the most unlikely Socialist you’ve encountered with his Hannibal Lecter gimp-jaw and avowed hatred of billionaires - and ex-billionaires like Wayne. Themes of social destruction generally have that car-crash intrigue. Anyone recall the documentary Threads with its disturbing man-reverts-to-animal conversion as the first flakes of nuclear snow fall onto England?

And so it is with Bane’s takeover of the ‘means of production’ when a people’s court is established. The sentencing options for the ex-rich and ex-powerful are death and, um, death. But the good news is that the accused has a choice of whether to die by exile or accept certain death.  Sometimes though, you do wish that Bane would remove his mask so that he can be heard properly when pronouncing on victims’ guilt.

No such diction problems afflict cat burglar Selina Kyle played by Anne Hathaway who has that Bond-girl love-hate relationship  with Wayne and dons Halle Berry’s Catwoman suit while figuring out whether to help or hinder our hero.

The film’s carnage scenes are vivid especially when the pristine green ground of the football stadium is detonated before a speechless audience. Elsewhere immovably erect bridges are rendered impotent and slumped into rivers and one scene alone is a continuous assault on the ears as the film does its blockbuster thing.  

But it’s a very long film (almost three hours) despite the best efforts of Gary Oldman (police chief Jim Gordon), Michael Caine (the butler Alfred) and Morgan Freeman (car insurance salesman – oh ok, technical wizard Lucius Fox).

All said and done it could have done with a bit of trim in the editing suite for the final cut. Given the nature of the film enjoy the cinematography, allow plenty of time and don’t read too much into the smiles at the end...

 

 

The Dark Knight Rises goes on general release Friday 20 2012

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