Entertaining Evil

Sunday night, a friend and I went to see The Dark Knight. Even before the hype of Heath Ledger’s accidental death in January, I had already planned to see this movie. I loved what Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale did to reboot the Batman franchise out of its campy history. Tim Burton did a little of this with the first two movies but there was still a day-glo feeling to them. Then it started to look like a comic book with Batman Forever (Jim Carrey’s rubber face included). But… it had Val Kilmer.

We won’t talk about Batman and Robin. Aside from Uma Thurman, that movie stinks. Stinks. Stinks. She’s so over the top, she makes it bearable. Almost.

Then… Batman Begins went to the 1980’s and 1990’s comic books, which are more adult and decidedly darker than their predecessors. (They were done by Frank Miller… who wrote Sin City, 300, and the Watchmen – all of which are very graphic, very dark, and down right disturbing.) More psychological. Bruce Wayne isn’t just a rich vigilante. He’s a tortured man trying to make peace with himself, trying to find himself… And… there’s Christian Bale who is not only smokin’ hot, he’s a really good actor. (Aside: he will be starring as John Connor in the new Terminator movies starting Summer 2009).

This change has angered and upset alot of people whose primary experiences with Batman are the earlier movies and the TV series – which is nothing but camp. They aren’t familiar with the comic books at all or its dark past.

So, we go to see the Dark Knight. First, I don’t remember hearing a single cuss word in the entire movie. At all. Well, maybe one by the thugs but I’m not sure. I am pretty sure I said more when we were talking about it at the conclusion…

“The Joker is seriously f’ed up.”

Was the movie good? Depends on how you want to define “good.” Did the story move along at a good pace to keep from getting bored in a 2 hr 30 min movie? Was the acting good? How were the special effects?

Yes. Yes. AWESOME!

However, it is very violent but not in a bloody way. There isn’t alot of gore. Very dark. The Joker is a man who has no purpose to his violence. He hurts and kills people because he can. It is very easy to see how Heath Ledger had so much trouble sleeping after he finished his work on the film. Demented. Scary. Bat sh*t crazy. In a way, it is the most terrifying part of being human – abject violence and the ability to inflict terror for the sole purpose of doing it and to see how people react.

To me, Freddy Kruger and Jason are minor league horror villains compared to Ledger’s Joker.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie and it gave me nightmares. Sunday night, my dreams were very violent. I was telling Mark about it last night. He said he was almost going to see it but after my description of it decided not to… that he did not want to watch that kind of movie. I said that I wasn’t going to have another nightmare last night.. not going to allow that.

About 3 am, I jerk awake from another nightmare. I laid in bed and started praying.

God, what is going on? I have watched movies like this before and they haven’t affected me at all. Perhaps that is saying something about me… my numbness to evil, darkness, and violence but, we can talk about that later. But this is different. What is up with this movie that 2 days later, the imagery is still affecting me?

The Spirit replied:

This movie is surrounded by evil. It tormented Heath Ledger to his death.

(Further clarification: this morning – Christian Bale’s mom and sister filed a police report on him – abuse charges for an assault that they said happened after the London premiere)

I immediately went back to sleep… back to the tortured dreams of robberies, guns, violence, alarms. It leads me to question how much have I let God regenerate my heart. I don’t doubt that I am justified by faith… but the process of sanctification is on going. How much am I fighting that and thwarting it by my media choices?

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2 comments

  1. patrick · July 22, 2008

    at times the Joker seemed almost too smart, borderline clairvoyant, but i guess that makes him a good foe…

  2. Katherine Coble · August 8, 2008

    You may think I’m nuts, but I promise I’m telling the truth. I spent the entire week after we saw TDK having the worst nightmares I’ve had in years. Not scary ones with monsters but dark, depressing things about just…evil. Darkness. Oppressive darkness. And then I got the flu. I told my husband more than a week ago that I blamed that movie. And now, just catching up on my blogs I see that I am far from alone in that.

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