Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


Really really really?

Perhaps it's just that I have a much different personality and a much lower tolerance for the graphic portrayal of evil than lots of people, but why-oh-why would anyone want to go see The Dark Knight Rises?  The Dark Knight was so...well...dark.  Dark and evil and awful. 

A lot of that was due to the Joker.  I suppose a sophisticated film critic would say that Heath Ledger did a really good job of playing the Joker.  He certainly had me convinced that he was evil and hideous.  That same cute boy with the Australian accent from 10 Things I Hate About You was transformed into, well, dark.  Evil.  There's really no other word. 

And it took its toll.  How could it not?  How could playing that character, getting the evil mass-murdering mindset in one's head, not have consequences?  And Heath Ledger paid those consequences - with his life.  Of course, nobody really knows the ultimate reason for Ledger's suicide - he'd recently broken up with Michelle Williams, he was into drugs and sleeping pills, etc.  But he admitted himself that the role was causing him problems:  He apparently told reporters that he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy ... "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

And now there's a sequel.  Four years ago, Hollywood produced a movie that drove one of the main actors to suicide, and somebody thought a sequel would be a good idea?  True, there is no Joker in this year's film.  But I'm not convinced that matters.  Darkness and evil are no joking matter, they aren't something to fool around with.  They are real, they are powerful, and there's no such thing as "just playing".  Even without a Joker, can we believe that The Dark Knight Rises will be any less dark?  Batman may well win - I don't know, and I don't intend to see the movie - and it will help to see good triumph over evil.  Nevertheless - why would anyone take the roles, and why would anyone go see the movie, knowing just how deeply it engages the darkness and evil?  Why open yourself up to those attacks from The Evil One? 

Heath Ledger, Rest In Peace. 

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