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Dark Knight, The (2008)

Release Date:
Friday, July 18, 2008

MPAA Rating:

Rating Reason:
Intense sequences of violence and some menace.

Action, Crime

Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

Written By:
Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan

Official Site:

 The film reunites Bale with director Christopher Nolan and takes Batman across the world in his quest to fight a growing criminal threat. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman has been making headway against local crime...until a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker (Heath Ledger) unleashes a fresh reign of chaos across Gotham City.

Dark Knight, The (2008) | Review

World Views Collide

Content Image
The Dark Knight is a tour de force of such intensity, bleakness and emotion that it will leave you physically exhausted by the time the end credits roll. To be honest, I didn't realize just how much my stomach was clenched and how tense I was until the film ended. I was surprised, in fact. After all, this supposed to just be a comic book movie: a movie about costumed heroes fighting for truth, justice, and all that good stuff against bad guys who like to do bad stuff.

But Christopher Nolan does something much more with The Dark Knight. This no mere comic book movie (something I also said about Batman Begins); this is a film that is to be experienced, analyzed, and pondered. This is an epic masterpiece with a man dressed up as a bat as the main protagonist, and a man painted in clown paint as the main antagonist; and in these two characters is more than just a battle between good guys and bad guys, it's no less than a war of worldviews.

The Dark Knight is a battle between the post-modern world view and that world view of absolutes. In fact, the Joker is the poster boy for post-modernism. He absolutely believes (and yes, I understand the irony of using that emphatic to express a post-modern viewpoint) that everything is relative, that the world would be better off if it let go of its delusions of order and a civilized society governed by laws. What's more, the Joker believes that all it takes is some nudging and people will naturally embrace his style of relativistic thinking. When the circumstances are extreme enough, people will see there are no absolutes beyond what they believe is right for themselves. The Joker embraces this way of thinking so completely, that he has multiple realities to explain his scars and his creation, all equally plausible and real in his own relativistic mind.

The Dark Knight also demonstrates what happens when one completely embraces the post modern belief of relativisim: it destroys everything. Everything descends into chaos, fear, uncertaintly, hopelessness, and darkness. Of course standing against this is Batman, the Dark Knight. He believes that order and law are necessary, and he'll do whatever it takes to enforce that belief... even if it means breaking the very laws that he believes are necessary. If that sounds contradictory to you, then you're beginning to understand what makes Batman such a fascinating and complex character.

Nevertheless, for Batman absolutes are necessary in life. For instance, he absolutely will not kill; and that's something that isn't relative depending on the circumstance, but a core belief that helps set him apart from evil such as the Joker.

Of course Jesus Christ has something to say about this battle of world views. In John 14:6 he say "I am the way, the truth and the life." It's an astounding claim. Think about that for a moment; Jesus said that he was the truth. Jesus Christ was truth in the flesh, the complete embodiment of what truth is. If that statement is true, then Jesus was also saying that truth is knowable, definable, and absolute. After all, he couldn't be truth if truth was relative. Have you ever seen a relative person, one whose very existence depends on their own shifting view of reality? No. Neither have I. We all like the idea of relativism as long as it benefits us; but as soon as someone uses that exact same thinking to do something we don't like, suddenly things are unfair, as if we could really call anything unfair if we truly believed in the lack of absolutes.

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