How often does Hollywood get it right?
Having paid to see movies this year I’m now ashamed to confess I saw even in previews, as well as some that I held in desperately high hopes only to be saddened by the lack of heart/ stupid story/ flat-lined characters/ idiotic excess of gimmees (the gimmee is, you know, the ONE thing for which you’ll willingly suspend disbelief, which dies the instant it becomes TWO things for which you must suspend disbelief, and is diced into a thousand tiny bits, cooked on a barbecue, fed to the neighbor’s dog, and recycled coming out the other end to be spread on toast when it becomes a DOZEN gimmees—Indy I’m looking at YOU on this one), I was about to say that Hollywood poisons everything it touches.
So who made The Dark Knight, where did they hide while they made it, and how did they keep their masterpiece away from the idiots responsible for Jar-Jar Binks, anything starring Mike Meyers or Adam Sandler, the skip-the-movie-buy-the-action-figure Hulk, and scenes starring aliens, shaky cameras, and Central Park?
It’s as if… as if… as if someone actually read Frank Miller’s brilliant The Dark Knight, and not only read it, but GOT it, and not only GOT it, but then transferred the heart and the soul from those drawn pages to the screen. And then beat all corporate-bean-counting-soulless-hack movie execs with baseball bats repeatedly and brutally until they left their sticky “put-a-cute-action-figure-in-for-the-kiddies” mitts off.
It’s brilliant. Heart, soul, meaning, characters, thought, emotion, philosophy. No one is dumbed down, no one is softened, and none of the rough edges have been sanded off to make it palatable or inoffensive to those easily offended. We are who we choose to be, The Dark Knight says, and we must claim both our victories and our failures. Viktor Frankl showed us that circumstances do not excuses make, that in the end we decide not what happens to us but who we are when it’s done. The Dark Knight has more special effects, but presents the same truth.
And it left me with a line seared into my mind. “Sometimes, people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”
Sometimes they do. So go. See it.
Once in almost never, Hollywood gets one right.