The Dark Knight lives up to the hype so far as Heath Ledger is concerned – a thrilling performance of a nihilistic zombie entirely detached from Batman’s comic origins.
But in other respects the film slowly drains you with its relentless explosions, navel-gazing, sadistic fetishes and thwacks and pows sound effects. When Two-Face emerges as a Joker sub-strand you’re faced with two raving psycho villains delivering rival climaxes: the result is too much of a muchness lasting about 30 minutes after the two hour point.
There’s no humour as such: if only someone had broken wind or something, just to debunk the tiresome arrogance. There's not enough farting in movies generally; but I'm pleased that The Joker doesn't brush his teeth: that fact alone has I think subliminally impressed the North Americans and lent credibility to the tone of anarchy. Perhaps the sight of The Joker in a nurse’s get up and wig is faintly amusing. But as Sir Michael Caine, 75, said at the Dorchester press conference yesterday, the cast on this movie were like a repertory company: definitive, memorable performances, dahling, were the order of the day.
And at times there’s a sense of island actors entire of themselves forgetting their part in what is supposed to be a continent. Hamming is an insufficient word in itself for what’s on display here. I shall coin a new word: Hacting. The Dark Knight is overloaded with hactors catching glimpses of themselves in mirror shards and shiny buttons. Yes, hacting – ham acting at its worst.
Ledger really does act – like a loony. Throw an Oscar in his coffin.