Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Dark Knight Rises

I went to see The Dark Knight Rises on the first day it came out. I had fairly high expectations, and they were disappointed. I ended up falling asleep, which I have only done once before (Van Helsing).

You don't decide to dislike a film because of its political subtext or its narrative incoherence. Because really that isn't what is happening. I'm not enjoying something and then my inner critic says 'Oh, I just spotted incoherence' and so I dutifully reject any pleasure it gives me. Or 'This embodies values I don't agree with. I'd better not enjoy it then.' I think sometimes people think that's what viewers are doing, because that's how they describe the causality in a review.

But the experience of the causality is the other way round. I am watching a film and it just doesn't grip me, and my emotions disconnect, and in this case my subconscious actually stepped in and switched me off completely. I think I was snoring (I was sitting next to my son's girlfriend and she's a bit too tactful to say). And then when you come out of the cinema you ask yourself 'What went wrong?' and then you start thinking about narrative incoherence or whatever.

The other thing is: what about people who did enjoy it? For example my nephew has 24/7 personal carers, who are good decent people. One took him to see TDKR and they both loved it. Are they wrong? 'Up until now Transformers was my favourite film, now this is.' Is that wrong? No, it's two young guys who approach the spectacle with open hearts. Good luck to them, but in another way they are technically 'wrong' in that the film really is incoherent.

Actually there were good aspects to the film. The actors did well with what they were given. Catwoman was good: ultra sexy without being exploitative. There were some interesting ideas (delivered cack-handedly). But the plot was ridiculous, and the dialogue was absolutely terrible. Just awful. And the values were confused so you didn't have a consistent emotional reaction, unless your reaction is just 'Oh flying cars and explosions!'

If a story is fantastical it's good to present it on a bed of authenticity. That was what I liked best about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly the Fellowship. Batman Begins was like that. But TDKR doesn't make you feel the authenticity of the frame in which the story happened. That was the biggest problem for me.

Your city is cut off from the rest of the world, with no public services or law enforcement. You are trapped underground in a noisome sewer with thousands of other people, for months. You are imprisoned in the 'worst prison in the world' and you have a dislocated spine. These are pretty extreme and interesting situations. Did this film in any way make you feel what it would be like to be in any of those situations? Not at all. Of course such a story can't be 'realistic' but it can be authentic. And then you would feel emotion. Which I didn't.

ETA Abigail's review here describes the elements that made the film fail - such as the incoherence and confused values - and that is the type of analysis I am alluding to, explicating what went wrong. I suppose in my review here, which isn't really a review at all, I am trying to say why that matters. Because if it was all terrific fun it wouldn't matter.

I wonder whether Nolan was fed up with doing Batman films before he finished this one.
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