The Dark Night(s)

August 18, 2008

And yes, I know it’s ‘The Dark Knight’, but more on that in a bit.

 

Well folks, we’re into triple figures! Yesterday, this blog received 101 views – that’s a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands right there. I welcome you all to today’s entry, reserving a special hello for my friend Laura, who read this entire thing from start to finish yesterday(!). Hats off to you, LD.

 

And of course thank you to the other 100 people that stopped by.

 

I’d like to begin this blog with a minor rant, if I may. Last night, I returned home from the movies too tired to watch something on DVD, so I decided to indulge myself in a very rare spot of television watching. After a brief flicking around the channels, I stumbled upon footage of the ‘V’ Festival – a music festival here in the UK – on channel 4. Can someone please tell me if there is a more risible band than ‘The Feeling’? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Feeling)

 

Everything contemptible and vacuous about modern society is present – the ‘I’m an individual, but I am going to show you this by dressing like everyone else’ skinny jeans, the logo t shirt/scarf/skinny tie/pointy shoes look, the floppy haircut, and perhaps worst, supposed ‘indie’ music which sounds like it’s been lifted off a tape of music specifically designed for games of musical chairs. What a horrible, vomitous, awful group they really are.

 

Rant over.

 

This weekend (and I suppose, to a degree, today’s blog) was all about being comfortable with myself.

 

As is most likely to be the case for a while as I go through this huge period of reconnection, my weekend was pretty clear. Sure, there was the return of the football season, or a trip to the gym; getting a car cleaned, or food shopping, but social-wise, I was pretty much clear. In my past life, this would have filled me with terror, now it is a double edged sword – which, while not perfect, is at least an improvement.

 

I am no good at being by myself. I like alone time, sure, but too much alone time can be a little… lonely.

 

The weekend began with a little more upheaval than I would have liked, however. My brother is 17. And he’s way too much like I was back then. If we subscribe to the Hoffman model that ‘parents, ergo me’, then it is very clear that my brother is my parent’s child. He is disconnected, as I was. He is uncommunicative and emotionally closed, as I was. He acts out, as I did.

 

And worse, he is into drugs. As I was.

 

Anyone with even a hint of my history will probably understand why I am so vehemently anti-drugs – nay, petrified of them. One step further down the left path, and I’d have probably been somewhere buried in the ground rather than writing this blog to you, as I am today.

 

My brother isn’t into the same ones I was – thank fuck – but he is a HUGE smoker. This in itself wouldn’t normally worry me – kids will be kids, and he does it with his friends, etc, etc, etc, but I felt a pit of fear in my stomach when I saw my brother, barely up for an hour, rolling a joint in his car. See, to me, that’s a problem, and it most certainly touched a nerve. I haven’t argued with anyone since I left Florence House, but we certainly did. I’m lucky – he’s a lot bigger than me, and I was half temped to slap the taste out of his mouth and let him know what a fucking idiot he was, but I’d probably have been on the wrong end of a beating for my troubles.

 

It just worries me. I know from bitter experience that there’s no talking to him about this, and no convincing him that I know better, or that it could lead to something that much worse. Truth is, he probably wants to, and will do, much worse, and much more. I can’t work out if I’m being overprotective, over bearing, or suitably worried. I wonder – is my past playing a part, or should someone somewhere be doing something about this? My parents won’t do anything – they’re so worried about his friends being his only social outlet, that they’d rather let him smoke his way through Amsterdam for 5 days (as he did last month) than actually confront, or ask him ‘why’.

 

It is a troubling, troubling situation for sure. And it really worries me.

 

It was an all too rare – and really, rather unwelcome – instance of social interaction on Saturday. The rest was spent by myself. It’s good, it’s bad, I can’t work out which. But in a world where I am a single man who has just begun to work out who this ‘David’ person is, it is imperative work.

 

Sunday morning arrived, and I was truly alone – my brother having jetted off to meet my parents in France. I read the newspapers, went food shopping, watched some football, fell asleep on the couch, and generally had a wonderfully relaxing Sunday. Unfortunately, Chelsea didn’t slip up as I hoped, but you can’t have everything.

 

And that really was it – the weekend, in a nutshell. (cue crappy ‘Austin Powers’ joke about being a nutshell)

 

Sorry, this blog hasn’t been as coherent as I would have liked. I’m exceptionally tired, and my mind is a little distracted today. I’m going to finish off today with a review of ‘The Dark Knight’, perhaps better known as the new ‘Batman’ movie. Last night, in my one social engagement of the week, my friend Ashley came and picked me up, and we finally went to see it. I’ll do my sign off after the review.

 

‘The Dark Knight’

 

In 1951, director Robert Wise, a master of science-fiction and genre horror – though he’s probably best known for being the director of ‘West Side Story’ – unleashed onto the world ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’; on the surface, a story of an alien who visits Earth, telling its inhabitants that they must live in peace, or face destruction.

 

It was one of any number of cold-war era allegories about fear, intolerance, and the unknown. They were themes of their time – themes representative of a society living in fear, living in fear of McCarthyism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mccarthyism) and living worried that anyone – a neighbour, a friend, or a work colleague, could be a spy for the ‘Red Menace’ that(supposedly) stalked America. These fears were very much evident in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, and of other films of the time – ‘Earth vs The Flying Saucers’, ‘The Blob’, and ‘The War Of The Worlds’. ‘Attack Of The 50ft Woman’ could be read as a fear of women’s liberation; ‘Village Of The Damned’ could be seen as a tale of children getting out of control. The list of examples truly is endless.

 

In 2008, the layman on the street will probably tell you that his number one fear is of a world going to hell, and getting there pretty fast. There were 5 trailers for the ‘Batman’ movie. It is no exaggeration to tell you that at least 3 were about a world in trouble, with only one man able to save them.

 

One of the better known ‘Superheroes’, ‘Batman’ is barely a superhero at all – he has no ‘powers’, except a seemingly endless chequebook, and is very much a beatable foe. Beginning life as a 1939 comic book character, ‘Batman’ has been through any number of incarnations – camp TV show character, dark and brooding comic book character, and a series of movies ranging from the dark. (Batman, and Batman Returns) to the ridiculous (the other two)

 

Re-imagined by the brilliant Christopher Nolan, (director of ‘Memento’) and starring Christian Bale (so brilliant in ‘American Psycho’) 2005’s ‘Batman Begins’ took a new stab at tapping into the ever-popular ‘Batman’ world, exploring the origins of the character, and taking on an altogether darker tone.

 

Perhaps most significantly, the cast was populated by actual actors, rather than the usual Hollywood-standard eye candy masquerading as something more. Take away the bat costume and gadgets, and Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freedman, Michael Caine and others would have been a cast the envy of any Hollywood epic. Only Katie ‘no really, I’m in love with him’ Holmes striking a lone dull note.

 

The film was a rousing success, and a sequel was inevitable.

 

Taking close to a billion dollars worldwide, ‘The Dark Knight’ has taken the success of ‘Batman Begins’, and driven it to another level completely. Though undoubtedly, the box office has been swelled by the unfortunate death of Heath ledger, here playing ‘The Joker’, audiences world-wide have been flocking to a film seemingly so in touch with their own views of a world gone mad, with no-one to save them.

 

And get this – it’s actually a good film. Though a little long, ‘The Dark Knight’ delivers on all its promises, a real Hollywood rarity, and it’s dark tones and sombre taste is never wavered from.

 

Much has been made of Ledger’s performance, and yes, it is good, so good, in fact, that you cannot help but remember Jack Nicholson’s own ‘Joker’ as merely Nicholson in make up, but the standards are impeccably high throughout – Oldman, Freedman, Caine, Bale, and Aaron Eckhart as secondary character District Attorney Harvey Dent, later to become ‘Two Face’ (think Tommy Lee Jones in one of the later, awful ‘Batman’ incarnations) all bringing their ‘A’ game to the screen.

 

‘The Dark Knight’ is a rarely-flawed movie about a rarely-flawed character – a guy just like you and me, albeit with a wallet we all envy. It’s not perfect, but for a superhero movie about a guy who has no superpowers, there won’t be much better, and, in ‘The Joker’, perhaps we have one of screens great modern lunatics. ‘The Dark Knight’ is a movie of its time – desperate, grimy, corrupt, and dank, but it has a ray of hope lying therein.

 

Here’s hoping.

 

And with that, I am drawing today’s entry to a close.

 

Thank you for reading, y’all.

 

Closed Box.

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3 Responses to “The Dark Night(s)”

  1. Valerie Atherton's Playground and Intellectual Department Says:

    I had no idea Batman’s been around since 1939. Thanks for the info!

  2. R G Says:

    Hey David, I happened to stumble upon your blog from one of the other blogs, you have a wonderful writing style. Haven’t read all your posts though.

    Loved your Dark Knight mini review, you should probably be a journalist or something, your posts look very professional.

  3. Gavin Perry Henthorn Says:

    Great review! Just one note, it is Morgan Freeman and not Freedman.


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