Craig Sutcliffe (SilentWarProductions2009)Born: Southampton, England
Live: Tauranga, New Zealand
Craig's Favorite Movies
Directed by: Christopher Nolan. Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman. << "You see, madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little...push" >> The Dark Knight continues the legacy of Batman. Based a year after his encounter with Ra's Al Ghul and his thugs, the streets remain the same whether Falcone is in jail or not and Batman continues to do what he can with the help of the newly appointed Commissioner, Jim Gordon and Gotham's new D.A, Harvey Dent. Before long a menacing madman called the Joker introduces something into Gotham that no one would have ever expected. This film has been and will remain an unstoppable force. Massively hyped for years by fans and the general public well before release and now critically acclaimed, Oscar winning and Box Office sweaping, my review is simply a reminder, from both an obsessed fan and a general moviegoer, that this film is beyond anyone's expectations, especially mine and that this film simply...is...masterful. Everything about the first film is simply and assuredly raised in level here, both in quality, complexity and story; everything is taken in a new direction, yet never forgetting what made Begins so great, just simply expanding and growing around it. Christopher Nolan has always been one of my favorite directors. A relatively unknown name for a while, he pushed through the indie scene with a powerfully mixed force of complexity and stunning entertainment and rose in recognition, staying true to his direction...and he has simply dazzled me once again on all cinematic levels. To some, it might appear flashy that he has taken hold of the newest technology for the film with IMAX cameras and in the wrong hands it would have just been for show and for money, but Nolan is god behind these cameras and the sweeping, epic scope is deftly handled and perfectly assured, the man is long overdue to be recognized more...and Wally Pfeister once again, dazzles with his thoughtful tone on this epic scale, it adds such a lovely feel and broadens Gotham's seemingly normal first look and the ever dark atmosphere growing underneath. The Nolan brother's screenplay is simply remarkable and beyond everything I expected from the film. I was one of the men who knew the film was going to be more than just some 'Batman' film. The footage I saw showed it, the dialogue I heard rang true of it and the mythology and the psychology were both there for them to pick and play at...and as I am no doubt repeating in this review, it's more than you would ever expect. In Batman 89, the problem that fell on it was the fact that the storytelling became lax and extremely second-rate, where as the Joker became a first rate character in a showman fashion while Batman, who simply became third rate, seemed to cower in a corner, with very little to tell. Not saying that I hated Batman 89, but at the end of the day it really just remains as a spectacle piece over story. Begins proved that Batman and Bruce Wayne can both equally be powerful forces and complex humans and faces as the basic psychology of the large mythology showed us and TDK continues that power by delving that much deeper into the complexities of human emotions and morals. Morally complex from every angle, its one hell of a raging pathos of real persona's all colliding at every turn, it keeps everything thoughtful, deep, intense and ever so exciting...and not to mention it's also a perfect crime saga that flows with a Shakespearean tone, even under it's 'superhero cover', which many will see it as. Each character is given special treatment and in one word, a 'soul'. Bruce Wayne must now face the facts that his vengeful and pretentious *masks* ultimately are blocking the relationship with his love Rachael and now being with another man, Harvey Dent, seen as the 'White Knight' of Gotham who is the new DA, its harder when he is basically the challenge, he's a man doing exactly what he is doing, but as a man without a mask who is ridding the streets of Gotham of its criminals. Batman has to make that choice on where he stands in Gotham and where exactly his morals have taken him, especially when revenge, the one thing he has pushed himself away from doing, lingers so close. That there is the simplistic overview of the films elements, it delves so much deeper. The Joker is also is never given a major origin story nor is he ever shown where he lies, away from all the grand spectacles he creates...and thank god for that, because the direction of Nolan's vision didn't need it. He's unrelenting, mysterious, methodical, among many other things much like Batman yet so self destructive and simply one hell of a scary, menacing clown that promises anarchy and chaos...and that he delivers. I can't go on without mentioning something highly under-looked in films...the score. It is the first soundtrack I have ever bothered to sit down and listen to throughout and for good reason. Its a rich force that blends beautifully with the complexities of the films morals and emotions, beautifully adding richness to every epic scene on screen, its up there as one of the greatest pieces of music I've heard on film that can add so much to the moving image, each note displays and represents each character perfectly. You all knew I was getting to this...the performances. Christian Bale once again proves to be the greatest mix put onto screen for these characters and he has settled in nicely for the 2nd round. As Bruce Wayne, he continues to show the charismatic and often cheeky wit around the way he is seen in city, yet he remains flawlessly human, dark, and troubled and battles the strong emotions with others as we all do. Aaron Eckhart simply blew me away, especially when everyone is going in for Heath. He's perfect...and easily blows Tommy Lee off the face (no pun intended) of the earth. He's got the perfect all American charisma to play this all American man as D.A of a major city and really is a nice threat for Bruce in his personal life, because he is not only similar in statue as the force of Gotham, but also the opposing darkness to his 'White Knight' image...and when Harvey changes into who he is destined to become, Aaron is scary as hell and really compelling and chilling. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a great replacement over the horribly sub-par Katie Holmes and is given much more to work with this time around and she blends in just well, showing an intimidating streak where needed as her character should. Heath Ledger. Let me start by saying that whoever thought his posthumous Oscar win would be a sympathy vote; the truth is, they deserve no audience, nor an opinion. If the man was still alive today, he would wipe all fields with what is quite possibly the greatest villain (and also the strongest form of method acting) to ever grace celluloid...and that will be argued. Equally unexpected and expecting, his performance as the Joker will stand for a lifetime. Sure Cesar and Jack will always have a face for Joker as the showman side of the character, but Heath is the dark side everyone knows from a 50+ year old character. Charismatic, dark, edgy and scary as all fucking hell, he breezes into every scene easily stealing it and delivering something so intense, so unexpected, so real. It's the greatest embodiment into a character that I have ever seen. Heath has studied this role so immensely, right down the it's little ticks and what is now trademark nuances, it's a performance to be remembered forever. A performance delivered by someone who died so suddenly. He can rest in peace knowing that he has now done what he went into the business for. The Dark Knight is a fucking masterpiece. This is, of course an 'opinion', because no one can stand as being right. It is up there as one of the greatest films I have ever seen and blew my obsessive and very high expectations right out of the water. Moral complex, beautifully captured, deftly controlled, greatly performed...all the elements I look for in a film, put to near perfection. I still can't say that the film is 'flawless' and I ain't going to nitpick at what those minimalistic flaws are, but The Dark Knight deserves the praise for standing on a parallel line to perfection...a film so deserving of everything it gets and a film of such exquisite quality and the fact that it somehow managed to beat my insane expectations, it comes so daringly close for me...as perfect.
98/100 << "You truly are incorruptible, aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness...and I won't kill you because your just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever." >>
Directed by: David Fincher. Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto. << "Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction..." >> The story follows the narrator of the film, an office employee, a heavy consumer to the world, who suffers from insomnia and does what he can to try and cure it, but when someone gets in his way, it vents up. He soon meets Tyler Durden on a business flight and together, aside from there differences, they put together 'Fight Club', an underground male fight group to help relieve male aggression. I've seen this film countless times and I think it takes my number 1 spot for that reason. I find it difficult to pick a favorite film and even then I see no film as perfect, but the fact that I can keep re-watching this film and finding something new and refreshing every single time keeps it as one of my 'favorites'. This film showed me one of my favorite directors...David Fincher. I would also count Se7en as another film that really brings forward the genius (it was released before this), but I saw this first. Key words is really all I can give you for his work here...brilliant, stylish, taut and a very original directional style, even when a lot of it comes from the CGI, his deft control and visual mind are present in every computerized moment and whats delivered is more than just CGI. Now I have never read Chuck Palahniuk's novel that this film is based on (but I definitely plan to read it), so I can't judge how faithful this film is, even though people say it is. Whether or not the book is more complex and layered or whether it's the other way around...either way, Jim Ehl's screenplay is something astonishing. Many still believe that even though its a film for the mind, the visceral content make it that much more...wrong. The screenplay is complex and chock full of layers. Its thoughtful, controversial and truly outstanding. Its not only a film full of crafty thrills, brilliant characters, superb and thoughtful dialogue and a twist to shock many (your not smart to 'figure' it out before the end, you can only take guesses), buts its so much more...a corporate advert to show the deterioration of man, a consumers guide to how life is, every character action, every frame tells another story about everything we live for, all while keeping you extremely engrossed elsewhere...reading the basic synopsis for this film tells you nothing, it is not just a film about fighting, its about what man is really capable of, because we are blinded by how unreal the world has become, where we aim for unnecessary goals, where we want a certain lifestyle that we don't need, like Tyler Durden says in the film, 'Things you own, end up owning you'...trust me, I am only telling you one small factor of the film here. The acting is brilliant, although Brad Pitt delivered a strong and weird performance in 12 Monkeys before this, this film showed the world he really is an actor and not just a celebrity. His performance that is darkly hilarious and strangely captivating...and Edward Norton gives the 2nd strongest performance of his career (after American History X), enough said. Fight Club was a critical success, which is rare thing for a film that is now seen as a 'cult classic', seeing as it flopped at the box office...it got the best of both worlds without the worlds money. I could continue to rant on and on about how much I love this film and how the film stands alone as something great, but I'll stop soon. The film is a masterpiece in my eyes, a film of kinetic beauty and a film to tell so much to so many...many will see this film as a degeneration of the world, but its actually exposing the world for what it is...a nice twist.
96/100 << "Hitting bottom isn't a weekend retreat. It's not a goddamn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!" >>