- Posted July 21, 2008 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Did you see 'Dark Knight?'
THE DARK KNIGHT INSIDE - OUR DUALITY
The lights went down, the fifteen minutes of trailers played. Then the opening Warner Logo and the audience clapped.
A remorse did hang over the house as “The Dark Knight” rolled it’s way through the projector. There was the familiar communal energy that accompanies any eagerly anticipated film, especially one a part of a franchise as popular as Batman, but there was, of course, an underlying current.
Ledger’s first appearance was met with tangible energy that turned, at least for me, momentarily to mourning. This was a good man and a tremendous artist. Anyone who possessed within him the quiet soul from Brokeback and the deranged manic Joker is a tornado of stories. His range was obviously insanely gifted.
I couldn’t help stop though and begin questioning. That familiar inner struggle that I can only assume we all have. Are we at all guilty in this? Are we at all responsible? Not for his specific death, no I don’t think that, but…it brought forth questions….what kind of people are we?
Now I won’t bore you with a critique of “The Dark Knight”, that is not my role but I will say this about the film – it had flaws, sure, but this is an important movie in Cinematic history and not just because of Ledger’s Joker, but for the film’s honesty. For the Dark Knight is not Christian Bale or George Clooney or the fictional Bruce Wayne, the Dark Knight is all of us. We all have those demons that drive us forward or underneath ground, depending on the volume of their song. For some it might be a simple need to please a parent for other’s perhaps a more complicated set of personal obstacles – alcoholism, divorce, anger or the worst, that quiet resentment that builds until a young child of 17 picks up a weapon and kills his classmates. We all have demons, what defines us is the balance – between right and wrong – light and dark…and more importantly how we handle the grey.
But back to that question – who are we that we can mourn over an attack as shocking as 9/11 and still applaud in glee as Joker does some heinous act of violence. There is a particular moment in the film that stands out – and I won’t spoil it for those who have yet to see this film – but those who have know something about a magic trick. When that moment happened the audience gasped in disbelief and then immediately began applauding and laughing.
Now Ledger is remarkable in the part. Staggering in his power and frightening in his sponteity – and perhaps his performance made Joker more human, more accessible, but why did we enjoy the violence so much?
Yes I know, it’s just a movie. Believe me I know. But here I was sitting in a theatre, watching one of the highest grossing movies of all time starring a deceased star who plays a deranged killer that we all secretly root for and I couldn’t help but notice the film’s theme blaring in my own ear – this duality of man - how we all can be capable of some aspect of the Joker when the right buttons are pushed.
That car that cuts you off. That friend that lies. That hero that falls. The lover who cheats. The army that invades.
Maybe that’s why we love super hero movies, especially in troubled times like these. We must believe that there is someone out there helping us make the right decisions and keeping us from our most heinous selves. Someone to do the dirty work of cleaning up after our footsteps. But in truth, it is not the Joker that we are afraid of – he’s obvious and extreme - it’s the uncontrolled Dark Knight within each of us.
Only problem is, it’s just a film. There is no Dark Knight, no superhero, to show us a balance and take on some dark burden and mantel. It’s up to each of us.