Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Every century produces its own generation of Shakespeare critics whose interpretations are reflective of their age. For instance Coleridge wrote “the motive hunting of motiveless malignity” about Iago in his edition of Shakespeare and the catchphrase epitomized the romantic concept of overarching and inexplicable evil. Hollywood directors often act like great critics and poets reinterpreting myths to fit the age. Christopher Nolan’s latest addition to the Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises, is a reflection on the nature of modern tyranny and is filled with motive laden malignity. Two historical events,China’s   cultural revolution and the ravages of Pol Pot, both inform the plot. Evil, in Nolan’s plotting, is a product of injustice that becomes more ferocious than the injustice it originally seeks to eradicate. Bane (Tom Hardy) and Wayne (Christian Bale) are both ideologues and it’s no mistake that their names rhyme and that they both wear masks. They’re two sides of the same coin and curiously united in their oppositionalism. Bane is a criminal who's earned his stripes in a notorious prison; Wayne is a child of privilege. Yet both end up  outsiders. The film is a series of antinomies. A fusion reactor built to sustain life can also be turned into a neutron bomb. At the beginning of the film Bane acts while Wayne withdraws, but the result is similar. Society is either burned to the ground or languishes due to entropy. Bane destroys the bourgeoisie and Wayne’s laissez-faire attitude results in destruction of the business which fueled his largesse. The character of Selina (Anne Hathaway) is a curious invention within the ideological spectrum the film portrays, to the extent that she's a totally amoral figure who seeks to gratify her own desires and ends up saving the day. The one truly bright-eyed persona, the character of the young police officer, Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who starts the movie off with a belief in truth, justice and the American way, ends up quitting the force.

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