Lessons from Batman

Can we live with justice, peace and truth?
The summer’s big popcorn bash of a movie was The Dark Knight, a thrill ride as unrelenting as a roller coaster without brakes. But the film is more than that.

First of all, it showed some excellent filmcraft. Consider the opening scene, in which the camera tracks in with increasing velocity on the black glass of a skyscraper. In a post-9/11 world, I couldn’t help thinking I was watching from the perspective of an airplane about to slam into the building. At the last second the film switches to another camera inside the building, and the window glass bursts outward rather than inward. It’s a neat surprise, a wonderfully executed reversal of perspective, all the more stunning because our breath is taken away by just a gunshot rather than a horrible crash and fireball. (I am of two minds about exploiting the 9/11 tragedy for aesthetic effect, but that’s another topic.)


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