Dark Knight, The
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -4

Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman. Action Drama. Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. Directed by Christopher Nolan.

FILM SYNOPSIS: With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman has been making headway against local crimeuntil a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker (Heath Ledger) unleashes a fresh reign of chaos across Gotham City. To stop this devious new menaceBatmans most personal and vicious enemy yethe will have to use every high-tech weapon in his arsenal and confront everything he believes.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Batman is a part of my childhood (oh, how I wish I had those comics from when I was eight), and I have appreciated how each filmmaker over the past twenty years has given the Dark Knight a cool cowl and all those toys. Whats more, writer/director Christopher Nolan breathed new life into a stale franchise with his Batman Begins back in 2005. And to top all that, this new episode is incredibly well photographed, the lighting and cinematography being some of the best Ive seen in this genre. Alas, my main complaint is a familiar one, having to do with the films violence. Im not sure how they managed a PG-13, with its overwhelming amounts of intense, brutal, and sadistic savagery. As Ive said several times, it just seems to take more and more desensitizing screen tumult to make audiences feel something. Whats that say about us? And why is Hollywood so concerned about us going green or voting their conscious, yet they refuse to address the amounts of brutality used by the medium to entertain?

Heath Ledgers last performance is outstanding as the sadomasochistic Joker. And this episode raises an interesting ethical question (is it right to snoop on the public in order to find criminals?), and a moral question (would you put others first, or let them die so you could live?). But please read the content before deciding to support this one.

DVD Alternative: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This feature-length animated version has Batman falling in love while battling both the Joker and a new nemesis to Gotham City, the Phantasm. G (it does contain lots of comic book styled violence, but also a well-thought-out script and artsy animation).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Several minor expletives such as hell.
Profanity: I caught three misuse of Jesus name.
Violence: Intense and excessive violence throughout, including children in peril, a nutcase threatening to cut up peoples faces, loud explosions and gun shots as if you were in the middle of a real war, an endless number of people being killed with casualness; sadism, masochism and several jolting scenes involving car crashes and other mayhem; it is one of the most brutal action/adventure films Ive seen. Blood: We see a man injured in an explosion, causing the skin to be burned off, leaving a disturbing skeletal image
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some brief drinking.
Other: None
Running Time: 152 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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