For Reel

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
August 22, 2012, 5:01 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Christopher Nolan

If The Dark Knight had one massive misjudgment in a ferry boat sequence that pitted Gotham’s citizens against its criminals, the conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy contains half of a dozen or so, which slide the picture too often into the out-and-out silly. A desert prison becomes the setting of an ineptly literal ascendance that would make Rocky Balboa blush, and a detour in the climax sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt responsible for *gasp* a bus-load of orphans. As technically proficient and suitably scaled as one would expect the most anticipated blockbuster of the summer to be, one can’t shake the feeling that it all feels messy, confused, and significantly less personal than any film that Nolan has made thus far. That is not to say that he has ever been a heartfelt director – there is a cold detachment present in even his most intimate movies, such as Memento and Insomnia – but in consciously aspiring for bombast, he seems to lose sight of his characters amongst the chaos of Gotham at large. Only Michael Caine’s loyal Alfred, who is given the burden of the whole of the film’s emotional content, remains unscathed from Nolan’s ultra-calculated, measured product, rife with political allegories that too-often feel contradictory and without clear perspective. Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle is a welcome addition to the cast, livening up Bale’s bland performance and the unrelenting sense of dread, but Marion Cotillard is wasted as a clean-energy philanthropist whose relationship with Bale is perhaps the most sloppily-handled subplot of the series. If there’s one thing that Nolan mostly exceeds at, it is his action sequences – though, as expected, a car chase sequence is visually incoherent (despite all of his practice with this type of scene, he has never got them right), a confrontation between Batman and Tom Hardy’s Bane in a Gotham sewer is delightfully gritty, made all the more memorable by the fact that Hans Zimmer’s percussive score has finally been silenced.

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