Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

by Pa Rock
Citizen Film Critic

The Dark Knight Rises got off to a tragic start with the shooting rampage in Colorado, but the crowds eventually came back.  And while it's not particularly my cup of tea, I am glad that one insane terrorist wasn't powerful enough to derail the artistic accomplishment of hundreds of people.

I saw this movie this afternoon with my oldest son - and his son - at a discount theatre in West Plains, Missouri.  It's almost sad how quickly movies make it off of the main screens and out into the discount theaters.  (I remember when The Sound of Music played in a first-run theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for over a year!)

This movie was typical of today's action-hero genre:  long on action, noise, and computer-generated catastrophes.  The lead characters were so-so, but it had a really good supporting cast that kept things interesting for those few of us who were there to enjoy the acting.   Christian Bale continues to be an acceptable Batman, but he lacks the passion that made American Psycho such a great movie.  Michael Caine, as Alfred, is sweet and charming, but his days as the sexy and charismatic Alfie are from another era.   (In fact, I was probably the only person in the entire theatre who even had a clue as to Caine's theatrical credentials.)  Caine has slipped from a leading actor to sidekick status, and that is just sad.

Burn Gorman has a minor role in the movie as a character called Stryver.  Gorman was a regular on Torchwood, one of my favorite British television series.  I felt like I had encountered an old friend when he came onto the screen.   And Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is known to many as Tommy on Third Rock from the Sun, charms as the former orphan, Blake, who has grown up to be a really good cop with a really good heart.  Gordon-Levitt is a very  accomplished actor who has been in dozens of movies and television shows, and often tackles quirky roles such as a Mormon missionary in the movie Latter Days, and a young prostitute in Mysterious Skin.

Juno Temple, who played the lead in Tim's movie, The Brass Teapot, also has a bit part in Dark Knight  - and while her character is forgettable,  she developed her well and delivers both of her lines flawlessly.  Daniel Sunjata who has been on a couple of television shows that I enjoyed - and is also an accomplished Broadway actor - has a small part as a police captain in which he brings a strong presence to the screen.

While I wouldn't drive into town to see The Dark Knight Rises a second time, I am glad that I made the first trip.  It was good seeing a few of my old friends.  I would probably give it a thumb-up for casting.  The major characters handled their parts like they were focused on earning a paycheck, but it was the second tier that stirred in the sparkle.

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