BAT­MAN

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - LEIGH PAATSCH

End of the Knight

A QUICK shout- out to jaded film types who think they have seen it all: think again.

Then go and see The Dark Knight Rises. Now you have seen it all. As you were, then.

As for the rest of us, es­pe­cially those who ap­pre­ci­ate an ac­tion block­buster with brains and bril­liance to ac­com­pany the brawn, The Dark Knight Rises is a gen­uine won­der to be­hold.

To com­plete his as­ton­ish­ingly am­bi­tious Bat­man tril­ogy, film­maker Christo­pher Nolan swings from the fences as if his life, and your faith in ma­jor mo­tion pic­tures, de­pends on it.

Not only does Nolan, as they say, hit the ball right out of the park. He smacks the thing right out of this world. As the stun­ning crescendo that ends

The Dark Knight Rises reaches its ab­so­lute apex, your jaw will have al­ready bought a one- way ticket to the floor. Where to start in nail­ing how The Dark

Knight Rises scores such a tri­umphant re­sult?

An amaz­ing screen­play is as good a place as any. With so much to re­mind us of, and yet, so much fresh ground to cover, the com­plex plot­ting of the tale is al­most im­pos­si­ble to sum­marise.

It is now eight years since the tu­mult that

closed The Dark Knight. With Bat­man and his al­ter ego, bil­lion­aire Bruce Wayne, liv­ing in self- im­posed ex­ile, it is go­ing to take a ma­jor catas­tro­phe to bring them back where they be­long. It is only when Gotham City, look­ing more like down­town New York than ever be­fore, comes un­der threat from nu­clear- armed ter­ror­ists that the Caped Cru­sader elects to re­sume ac­tive ser­vice.

This only scrapes the sur­face of the im­mensely in­volv­ing tale in the off­ing here.

The bad guys are led by a metal- muz­zled men­ace named Bane, a supremely con­fi­dent anarchist who is not in the busi­ness of mak­ing veiled threats. In­deed, by the half­way point of The Dark

Knight Rises, Bane and his army of fol­low­ers have sealed off Gotham from the rest of the world.

In a mat­ter of weeks, a re­ac­tor they have stolen from Bruce Wayne’s now- col­lapsed busi­ness will reach crit­i­cal melt­down, killing ev­ery­one within a 10km ra­dius of its core.

Per­for­mances in The Dark Knight Rises are first- class, con­sid­er­ing the daunt­ing scale of the pro­duc­tion in which they take place.

Chris­tian Bale has been an an­chor­ing pres­ence across the Nolan tril­ogy, steadily work­ing on keep­ing ‘‘ The Bat­man’’ ( as he has been for­mally known in Gotham throughout the se­ries) both ac­ces­si­bly vul­ner­a­ble and tow­er­ingly for­mi­da­ble in the eyes of the viewer.

Bale is chal­lenged to take the role to a whole new level in the clos­ing act, and re­sponds as an ac­tor of his fine cal­i­bre should. The break­out dis­play on the per­for­mance front is un­doubt­edly the in­cred­i­ble work of Tom Hardy as the hulk­ing mas­ter of chaos, Bane.

The job of this char­ac­ter is to pro­voke fear and fas­ci­na­tion in equal parts.

In spite of be­ing trapped be­hind an un­gainly mask and speak­ing in a voice that some might call ‘‘ Sean Con­nery does Darth Vader’’ – Hardy con­trols the force and fury to be un­leashed by Bane with a mas­ter­ful hand.

Dig deeper down the cast list and you still find plenty of gold.

Michael Caine as Al­fred car­ries a clutch of gen­uinely emo­tional scenes with a vet­eran’s aplomb. Gary Old­man has re­duced du­ties this time around as Com­mis­sioner Gor­don, but gives great value when the chips are down. If there is a po­lar­is­ing per­for­mance to be found, it might be that of Anne Hath­away as Selina Kyle ( the nom­i­nal Cat­woman of the piece, though the name is never purred out loud). Hath­away is asked by Nolan to ex­ude a wise­crack­ing brash­ness which is pretty much the only light re­lief to be found in this very heavy movie.

I thought she

got away with a very tricky job. Oth­ers may beg to dif­fer.

Vis­ually, The Dark Knight Rises is an epic spec­ta­cle that com­pletely ar­rests the senses but never over­whelms them.

The list of stand­out scenes is long and be­yond de­bate.

To quote but one ex­am­ple, the dra­matic min­utes where Bane un­veils his nuke to the sur­vivors of a bomb blast at a packed football sta­dium are never to be for­got­ten.

I could go on and on. Let’s just say that the spe­cial- ef­fects and the in­tri­cate ac­tion se­quences they ser­vice in The Dark Knight

Rises com­bine to take main­stream film­mak­ing to a whole new level.

The high­est com­pli­ment that can be paid to this ex­tra­or­di­nary work is that it si­mul­ta­ne­ously meets, raises and de­fies all ex­pec­ta­tions.

Not bad at all for a comic- book fran­chise that had al­ready run rings around its ri­vals.

For so many Bat- fans, a mere vic­tory lap to close the se­ries would have suf­ficed. That so much more has been promised and de­liv­ered upon is an achieve­ment not to be taken lightly.

ZAP: Bat­man ( Chris­tian Bale, main and in­set) takes aim at the bad guys.

MEN­AC­ING: Bane ( Tom Hardy) chal­lenges Bat­man.

KAPOW: Bat­man is the last Bat stand­ing.

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