Humanity has rarely looked so evil.
Thursday began as quite a long day in itself with an extremely early morning alarm after a night of little sleep and tough meetings ahead. Had tickets for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight, thinking it impossible for me to stay awake for it. I was riveted to the screen for the entire cold, dark, and very bleak story. And I couldn't truly grasp why I was so disturbed by it until today.
This movie belongs to Heath Ledger. Everyone else, including Christian Bale as Batman, remains secondary in your mind and attention- at least until the character of Harvey Dent runs out of luck. Ledger as Joker makes you forget you are watching an actor at work. His stunning performance becomes a gripping tranformation that will allow for no further representations of his character for this generation.
The heaviest element in the film reveals our human struggle at its core. Each of the Joker's foes sytematically falls prey to his schemes, which offer our heroes the temptation to drop their moral code so that evil doesn't win. Under great stress, each one gives in to varying degrees, relying upon their own strength, position, or wisdom to bring resolution to their problems, thereby allowing evil to triumph via their compromise while ultimately depleting their souls and purpose. Only the minor character of Alfred avoids the challenge, but he is removed from much interaction with the world, safe in Wayne Manor. There are no winners here. The line between good and evil is thin with insanity a breath away.
If it weren't for the fact any of us could fall into the same trap and dispair under the wrong circumstances, it would be easy to sneer at this film's dramatic display of mankind's deepest nature. That is the most disturbing aspect of all.