Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises **
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard
Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman
Contrary to popular belief, Christopher Nolan might very well be the least imaginative working director trying to pass himself off as an auteur. Movie after movie he proves that his need for self-indulgence often interferes with his delivery; his two last movies being grandiose exercises in incoherence. With The Dark Knight Rises he unintentionally forces us to ponder on a basic aesthetic conundrum: should all ideas be put on some sort of artistic medium?
The question arises from Nolan's absolutely reactionary statements, given that The Dark Knight Rises practically borders on fascism. The director suggests that any sort of social uprising comes in detriment to the development of capitalism and that only the rich can save the day. If this was 18th century France, Nolan would be on his way to the guillotine.
Perhaps the notion that art should be limited to "good ideas" is fascist in itself, but it's not meant as censure, instead it intends to explore what is it precisely that constitutes art. Nolan's fascism isn't bad from a purely aesthetic level, but it's offensive as "art".
Leni Riefenstahl's ideas and support of the Nazi party might have marked her as an "evil" figure but no one watching "Olympia" or "Triumph of the Will" can say that they fail as art. Riefenstahl challenged the format of the documentary and despite her supremacist thoughts, she encompassed the beauty of the human body in a way that hadn't been achieved since the Renaissance.
Then we come to The Dark Knight Rises and not only are Nolan's ideas disturbing, but his execution is absolutely clunky. Every cut and dialogue aim to contribute to an operatic feeling, but the only crescendo in the film is suggested by Nolan's tasteless use of aural and visual tricks. Why does the villain Bane (Hardy) need to sound like a Darth Vader parody? Why does the tribal chanting that obnoxiously permeates the film have to be related to the Middle East? Why is such great effort made to remind us about the goodness and inherent kindness of billionaires? How is this ever really about Gotham City and not about Bruce Wayne (Bale) trying to save his status as a symbol of power (penniless or not)? What exactly does Nolan have against women (especially those named Marion Cotillard)?
The Dark Knight Rises fails as spectacle, as entertainment and other than for Anne Hathaway's scene stealing turn as Catwoman (she seems to be acting in a vastly superior film) the only thing rising in this installment are its director's delusions.