In keeping with my most recent self-assertion to follow through, here I am. One-thirty in the morning. The night I saw the movie. THE movie. And I shall share with you my feelings.
My first impression of Christopher Nolan's reminder to the American people that comic book movies can be more than just action-packed popcorn sellers was that it was my favorite movie, ever. This is a feeling that I had before the end of the film; in fact, I had it with about an hour to go. After talking it over on the car ride home with my lovely girlfriend I realized that perhaps there are some flaws, but we'll get to them later.
Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker as a manipulative psychopathic genius is so stirring that I truly believe it will cause a character actor boom in a few short years. It is inspirational. It will remind people why actors are artists. He chills to the bone, with mannerisms that are bursting with history, a voice with a four-octave range, and a posture that is somehow disturbing all on its own. This inhumane depiction of absolute evil and terror is more human than Nicholson's almost cartoonish work as the same character in Tim Burton's less recent reboot of the Batman film franchise in 1989. The job well done will go down in history for many reasons, some related to the actor's performance in the film and some related to his death in life. I will remember it for how it somehow helped me believe that there are people like that in the real world. Comic inspiration or no, Ledger made me understand what it means to be evil just a bit more than I did. It also reminded me why I am interested in acting.
In fact, Heath Ledger's work as the Joker reminds me of the small part inside me that wanted to play parts like that. It has awoken in me the formerly napping desire to reach inside the depths of my own mind and pull out a part of it that I had placed under lock and key, in a trunk, surrounded by lots of styrofoam cushioning due to its volatility. I remember wanting to take it out of its little padded home and throw it against the floor then clean up the mess. I feel a little disturbed by my own desire to do this, but it was what drew me to acting to begin with: the chance to play a part of my id that no one (not even me) gets to see. It's there inside all of us. I know it's in me, and I deny it for the good of myself and everyone around me. I don't have to do it often, but every now and again it wants me to step over the rail of the stairwell and hang from it just to do it; to crash my car into that other car whose driver is being too erratic because he needs to learn a lesson. That little part of me and many others want to get out and wreak havoc, or at least get a smell of the fresh air, on a leash, at the dangerous end of a motion picture camera.
Despite all the other things there are to say about this movie, good and bad, the deep-rooted questions about humanity, society, trust, love and fear, and every other thing there is to say, I only really wanted to talk about Ledger's performance, one that I believe deserves at LEAST a posthumous Oscar nomination. It would be an insult to actors everywhere if he did not at least get the nod. My lovely girlfriend will have to wait for another post to see her opinions on Harvey Dent's subplot and themes featured on the blog.
Thanks for reading. Nobody.