Film: “The Dark Knight”

Mack has been talking about The Dark Knight for months now, so it wasn’t a surprise that he bought ticket to see it at 12:01am on the day of its release. Though I originally balked at the idea of a midnight showing followed by the struggle of getting through an eight-hour work day, I figured the experience of seeing the fanatical moviegoers on top of the movie itself was worth sacrificing one night’s sleep.

We joined the line outside of the second floor IMAX theatre at West Edmonton Mall at around 9:30pm. We had checked in on the line at 8pm, and though there were already twenty people outside the theatre, we opted for a mall stroll before commencing a lengthy stationary period. Looking around us, I wish we had been as prepared as our lineup counterparts – not with camping chairs as much as portable game systems, packs of cards, books, or magazines. Still, without entertainment, the time passed by fairly quickly, with the flaming dragon going off every twenty minutes, and my anticipation of costumed patrons. The final count at the end of the evening? Two Jokers, and an honourable mention for the guy downstairs who brought an inflatable Batman with him.

A motley crew

The dragon!

We were allowed into the theatre an hour before showtime, where the excitement continued to build. By the time the laser demonstration started, I was more than ready to see The Dark Knight.

Two and a half hours later, I felt like my nerves were shot and worn through. Between Heath Ledger’s terrifying portrayal of The Joker, Harvey Dent’s tragic disintegration into the villain Two Face, Christopher Nolan’s apparent need to fill a gunfight quota, and quick cuts resulting in brilliant-but-breathless moments of suspense, even a good night’s sleep wouldn’t have released the movie’s haunting grasp of my dreams.

As always, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine elevated scenes with their presence alone, while Maggie Gyllenhaal provided a seamless transition for a character that could have been played by any competent actress. Aaron Eckhart was perfectly cast as Dent, who was believably upstanding, and really, his chin and jaw should also be lauded simply for the number of times they have been mentioned in other reviews. Heath Ledger will undoubtedly build a cult following for his performance – like Viggo Mortensen, who I’ve read lives and breathes his character roles, Ledger nailed the eerily melodic voice, oddball gait, and facial ticks (his continuous tongue-flicking was genius) of this Joker.

Dually exhausting and exhilarating, I highly recommend The Dark Knight, a film with a rare payoff that actually matched its hype. Watch for Mack‘s review, where he will compare screenings of the film in IMAX and on the regular screen.