Sunday, July 22, 2012

the dark knight rises [2012]

hmm. . .well. . . ahem. . .

can a self-proclaimed film fanatic who grew up on comics, tv superheroes, and horror/exploitation films even claim objectivity in the search for truth regarding what a very many fellow nerds consider the penultimate achievement of superhero cinema? 

on top of that blow the action set-pieces up to considerable size, wash the colors out of the palette so that every frame appears very monochrome and dour, use little cgi, and drive in a score that is not only ominous but thrillingly loud, louder than the who [the band] were in the guinness book of world records when i was a child for being the loudest fucking band on the planet. 

the batman trilogy is finished yet canny christopher nolan tossed in enough details at the end to endear us to yet another installment, maybe not helmed by nolan and penned by both nolan and his brother jonathan -- as was this film and the dark knight, but by someone else to do yet another reboot and introduce [dare i say this?] robin? 

gulp!  what of it?  after all, movies are business and right now the only movies that seem to be taking in the dough are superhero franchises.  if poetry is a kind of money, as stevens so perversely remained, then movies are fucking mints that are too big to fail.  as for objectivity i claim that i've never been a huge batman fan.  i went to this film to see how nolan tackled our very real problems of social and financial inequalities. 

and so but nolan populates his film with some real winners.  especially the women, anne hathaway and sumptuous [who is a delight to watch whatever movie she does] marion cotillard.  even if the writing breaks formal narrative structure and becomes more talky but less histrionic like a telenovela the pinciples are wonderful to watch.

i was eager to see what side of the fence of the socio-economic divide nolan sits.  perhaps the movie's strength resides in a refusal to take sides.  both the 1percent and the 99percenters commit acts of atrocity.  in the former those acts are perpetuated thru the binary systems of global finance, thru computers, and the drudgery of removal from the suffering of the working classes.  for the latter those acts bear witness to a horrendous reign of terror made even more acute by our witness thru live tv news.

then there is the showdown between two opposing idealogical systems.  who wins?  as it is in life it depends on who is telling the tale.  for nolan, who is directing essentially escapist fare, he tries hard to make a 19th century russian novel of a film.  the movie is too long by a third and there are a few characters that are extraneous to the narrative.

i did my best and sat thru worst movies.  perhaps this trilogy will be revisited in a few years time and admired not only for nolan's verve and artistry but also as documents of difficult times.  for that i am grateful to nolan's gifts and bravery for creating a cinema for our socio-economic climates with hollywood blockbusters. 

christopher nolan has made a superhero movie out of our late-capitalist era.  from what i've been reading and listening to it seems that the consensus agrees that we are at a point when the center will not hold and that our financial systems are going to collapse.  i've been asking my friends of all political persuasions if they think this is so and for the most part the answer is yes.  the future is nearly always different then what we might think it will be.  we don't have a crystal ball to confirm our worst fears.  we can create an art out of those fears.  nolan has created such an art.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger Jim McCrary said...

really taking a step out, eh. well, i dont agree with your take on movies. they are no more than cheap consumer goods manufactured for profit. give you credit for leaving this up though.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

most movies are indeed cheap commercial products, jim. doesn't mean that even cheap cast-offs are not art too.

however, every now and then a work can be both popular and excellent. the two are not mutually exclusive.

the definitions of art are fluid. they are not binary. and in my opinion there is no such thing as high art and low art.

art is what we make. however we make it.

for both good and ill.


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