Countdown to The Dark Knight Rises: Rank ‘em [Christopher Nolan]

 
Everyone involved with the third row got together this week and looked back at Christopher Nolan’s career to coincide with the release of likely the biggest movie of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises. Throughout the week, we’ve had (and will have) some pretty in-depth and thoughtful pieces surrounding Nolan’s films and Batman in particular. Of course the most facile of these tasks was left to me: gather everyone’s ranking of Nolan’s seven films from favorite to least favorite and then aggregate/score them into one “definitive” list.

Christopher Nolan

It wasn’t even close. Pretty much all of us agree that Insomnia and Following are Nolan’s weakest two films whilst memento. and Inception are his two best films; though some extreme love can be found for The Prestige sprinkled throughout. Meanwhile his Batman movies come smack dab in the middle. I’ve never seen so many people come together on a director as exciting as Christopher Nolan and we all come down almost exactly the same way.

So here is the mathematical certainty that are Nolan’s films ranked from weakest to strongest (check the bottom of the post for our individual ranked lists):

#7 – Following (1998)

 

I think the biggest reason that Following has fallen to the very bottom of this list is partly because it just isn’t all that well remembered and/or widely seen. The psychology of viewing a black and white picture rather than something bursting with colors makes it harder to keep in the head. Its off-kilter time structure might also be a factor. For whatever reason, Following seems to be the one film that has slipped just under the proverbial radar in the Nolan filmography – even by cinephile/blogger standards.

That being said, it’s also at the bottom simply because it probably truly is his weakest film. Not to say it isn’t enjoyable, but you’ve got to admit it feels a bit like a student film; someone experimenting with film making for the first time and not really knowing how to keep all the pieces tied together perfectly. Visually, Following is rather drab and uninteresting; and the story, while mildly compelling, sort of feels thrown together, obvious and easy. Especially when the more original and interesting, initial premise of the film (following people) is kind of abandoned for a completely different sort of story (break-ins and double crossing).

Still, Following does have enough going for it that it’s hardly a “bad” movie. Nolan keeps us interested by showing us events out of order. Not that that is anything new and not that it is necessary for this story to be told, but it is partly what keeps the audience on its toes and forces us to pay attention a little more closely. Nolan gives us hints and tricks to keep our place and the actors performance are soaking with heart and sparkle.

For me it’s tied together a little too nicely and just overall isn’t that innovative or memorable as it could’ve been. There are lovers of the film out there I’m sure (because there are certainly things to love), but mostly this is one I can’t see myself ever bothering to watch again; even though I mostly enjoyed it on this rewatch.

- ANDREW


 

#6 – Insomnia (2002)

 

If you did a straw poll amongst movie lovers as to who their favorite directors were, I wager you’d hear the name Christopher Nolan quite often. It’s incredible to think that the man has only been on the scene for just eleven years (or thirteen if you go back to his debut short film, Following). And yet, when discussing his filmogrophy, an overwhelming majority of his fans regard his second feature as the redheaded step-cousin of the family.

This leaves me to wonder, what did Insomnia ever do to deserve such disdain?

In case you’ve never seen it, Insomnia is Nolan’s 2002 remake of Erik Skjoldbjærg’s 1997 Norweigan film of the same name. After a teenage girl is murdered in a small Alaska town, two L.A. cops are dispatched to help with the investigation. One of them, Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is under investigation back home for misconduct in the handling of recent cases. The other, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) reveals on the flight in that he’s been offered immunity if he complies with the investigation. They are greeted in Nightmute, Alaska, by Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) who will work with them on the case. Dormer works quickly and identifies local author Walter Finch (Robin Williams) as a person of interest in the case. When a unit of cops, including Dormer and Eckhart go calling on Finch to question him, the whole situation gets complicated in a hurry.

Has Insomnia been kicked around because it’s an inferior film? Hardly. The movie was received to primarily positive reviews at the time, and has aged remarkably well over the decade that has passed since its release. Its story – admittedly established in the Norwegian original – is a grimy murder tale that is less concerned with whodunit than it is with making the audience wonder what they would do. Most murder stories are about establishing blame; in Insomnia blame is suspected pretty early on, and confirmed pretty quickly afterwards. Instead of taking us on a trip we’ve been on dozens of times before, the plot decides to complicate one killing with another, and lay guilt on top of guilt. Nolan’s films have unilaterally dealt with characters that compromise their morals, and Insomnia wears that suit rather well.

Does Insomnia work with lesser talent? Nope. Interestingly, the three leads in the film have somewhat checkered track records. First there’s Pacino, who has become an SNL parody of himself. Not only is Nolan able to keep him on the leash in this movie, but he draws from him a performance that can tell the difference between dopey and exhausted. At the moment, it stands as Pacino’s last great film performance and for all we know, it might stand that way for quite some time. Then there’s Robin Williams, a man I’d describe as “manic” if it didn’t feel like a short-sell. Nolan has him turn the volume all the way down, and in so doing, brings out a creepiness in Mork we hadn’t seen on the big screen before. Finally, Hillary Swank, who in 2002 was quickly becoming an Oscar-winning afterthought thanks to silliness like THE GIFT. In this film she plays to her strength by combining a rural sensibility with a slightly wide-eyed naivety. Show of hands all those who thought the next karate kid was capable of this? To have evoked one of these performances – or even two – would have been a good day at the office. For Nolan to have inspired all three is a rare feat.

Is the film technically lacking? Not even a little bit. Wally Pfister, Nolan’s cinematographer since memento. has a field day in Alaska (and on occasion, BC standing in for Alaska). He wastes no time in showing off, setting the opening credits to stunning aerial photography of glaciers and mountains that’s worthy of National Geographic. Intercut with that, is the creepy visual of blood soaking into the fibres of a white cloth – a visual we won’t understand until much later, which is one of Nolan’s favorite ways to open a film. As of that opening wasn’t splendid enough, the key scene in the film’s first act – the raid of Finch’s cabin on a foggy morning could arguably be among the five best-looking scenes of Nolan’s career (the comment section is below: bring it). Insomnia doesn’t just look great, but queue up the scene where Dormer takes a spill into a log drive and you’ll be treated to a scene that sounds fantastic, and also rather frightening. On the subtler side of things, the movie plays up Dormers insomnia by showing how loud the slightest noises seem to a person who can’t sleep. My wife has explained this phenomenon to me several times (to no avail as I sleep like static) but all she ever needed to do was play this scene to articulate her point. It’s a fantastic way to illustrate pure fatigue.

So knowing all of that, what is it about Insomnia that prompts a collective shoulder-shrug? While I disagree, I need to believe that its status of a remake brings pause. To be clear, the 1997 original is a fantastic film that is every bit as handsome, suspenseful, well-acted and well-executed as this rendition. It didn’t need to be remade, especially in such a faithful manner.

But.

If a film like Insomnia is going to be remade, could you envision a better retelling of it? The setting was honored, the characters wonderfully cast, and much of the subtleties left intact. It was retold with care, and well-executed by a talented director on-the-rise. In some ways, it could be held up as an example of what to strive for: If you aren’t going to remake a film as well as Nolan remade Insomnia, then you shouldn’t remake it.

Why does Insomnia spark so much disdain? I have no clue. Part of me believes its low rewatch factor leads fans to forget about it, the same way an offering like Munich is a Spielbergian afterthought. This is a pity since this is a film that puts content first, preferring subtlety over flash. It stands as a turning point in Nolan’s career; the moment he proved he could handle a larger budget, a grander scale, and A-list talent. To be specific, Nolan never would have been handed the Dark Knight franchise without nailing Insomnia.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it though. Perhaps the reason is, quite simply, that something has to finish last on the list.

- Ryan McNeil (The Matinee)


 

#5 – Batman Begins (2005)

 

Batman Begins is exactly the hero the world needed in 2005. It was a departure from the goofy, Schumacher antics that, let’s be honest here, weren’t as goofy as they thought they were – they were just stupid. Nolan removed the schlock, the rubber nipples and the side-kicks and focused on what Batman is really all about: darkness and fear.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, most Batman films only celebrated the hero’s actions; rejoicing when he creatively turns the tables on his nemeses. But really, the Batman universe should be a bit more complicated than that. And Batman Begins explores that realm. Right from the get-go it is violence and fear. Fear is the underlying ultimate villain in this story. Fear is a weapon and a defense and can make you stronger, but it can also tear you apart.

In short, the true Dark Knight is back, and he delivers us from evil on so many levels. Two and a half hours is a bit long and sure it’s an origin story in which the real action doesn’t get going for an hour or so, but the origin here is well done, interesting and exciting. It finally answers Jack Nicholson’s iconic question, “Where does he get those wonderful toys!?” Soon enough the action will begin, and once it does, step back or sit forward and get ready. Are there weaknesses in Batman Begins? Sure, but they’re hardly worth dwelling on as this is smashing good fun and by far the best super-hero movie of the previous 15 years before it.

- ANDREW


 

#4 – The Dark Knight (2008)

 

If Batman Begins revitalised the Batman series, then three years later, The Dark Knight legitimised the entire superhero genre. A grounded, multi-faceted, adult crime drama – albeit one with a giant bat and a terrorist clown at its centre – the film is simultaneously personal and grandiose, emotionally mature and dramatically riveting, while also containing fantastic (if occasionally over-edited) action set-pieces, and perhaps one of the most compelling and iconic villainous in the history of motion pictures.

From the opening frame, shot in jaw-dropping IMAX, Heath Ledger is utterly magnetic as Batman’s most recognisable foil. The Jokers tailored suit and grungy make-up strike a discordant vibe that is heightened by Hans Zimmer’s nerve-rattling score, and driven home by the late actor’s erratic, taunting, wickedly funny and often frightening final performance; that The Joker’s increasingly elaborate and invariably explosive plans make not a lick of sense is irrelevant in the face of such energy.

Although he has gone on to twice dwarf the scale of The Dark Knight in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, in 2008 this film was far and away the biggest thing Nolan had ever made, and represented his coming of age as a bona fide Hollywood mega director. Putting aside the films record breaking box-office takings, the feel of the The Dark Knight can only be described as epic. The action is huge (think of the hospital explosion); the pace is breathlessly exciting, and the narrative ambitious and sprawling.

Yet in spite of the films size, Nolan also achieves an emotional resonance through his handling of the character of Harvey Dent. Noble, brave and determined, Dent is truly the hero that Gotham needs, and although we may want Bruce and Rachel to get together instead of Rachel and Harvey, the relationship of mutual respect that develops between the cities’ Dark Knight and it’s White Knight is the dramatic backbone of the film. And when Nolan, in a merciless emotional sucker-punch, fries Rachel to a cinder, the devastation of both men, but particularly Harvey, is palpable.

Dent’s falls from hero to the villain is undoubtedly a little rushed; certainly Two-Face is not as attention-grabbing a bad guy as The Joker. But he is a more complex one. The Jokers starts the film in the same way he ends it: completely and utterly insane. Dent, on the other hand, has a genuinely moving dramatic arc. It’s not “why so serious” that breaks my heart, but the anguished howl of “it’s about what’s fair”.

The dark, gripping, emotional middle chapter in one of cinemas’ all time greatest trilogies, The Dark Knight is Nolan’s The Empire Strikes Back. And that’s not a comparison I make lightly

- TOM CLIFT


 

#3 – The Prestige (2006)

 

Meticulous.

In racking my brain for a perfect word or phrase to describe The Prestige, I found myself dancing around terms that had generally positive connotations – words such as sophisticated, intriguing, and dazzling sprung from my fingertips … yet their fate was decided by the delete key, never to return. Nothing I could think of felt quite right as I sought for a quick and dirty qualifier for a film as well-layered and intricate as The Prestige. A film that both demands the viewer’s utmost attention to detail and rewards him for his due diligence. There is so much going on from open to close, and so many layers to each character and subplot. Put rather simply, the painstaking attention to detail is … meticulous. Yes! That’s it! Meticulous!

Throughout the film, we are presented with details large and small. Each of these details is a veritable piece to a puzzle, as the words and actions of Robert Angier, Alfred Borden, and Cutter are intriguing on their own … yet wonderfully mystifying when taken as a whole. Inevitably, everything fits together rather comfortably, and there is a sense of wonderment as to how Christopher Nolan guided us from start to finish, with a subtlety that is often lost in a film with ‘twists.’

The Prestige would not reached such great heights without the skill of its cast, most notably Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Michael Caine (whose character may well have been the mastermind behind the curtain). All three were at the top of their game, and their relationships were incredibly well-fleshed out and, most importantly, believable – the energy spent alternatively loving and hating one another was palpable. And I would be remiss to ignore David Bowie and Andy Serkis, whose machinations drove the heart of the film.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of The Prestige, beyond even the filmmaking and the acting, is the intertwining of Shakespearean tragedy and the quarrel between Nikola Tesla, which serves as the forebear to the film itself. Of course, that may well be an aspect of Nolan’s meticulousness.

- DOMENIC


 

#2 – Inception (2010)

 

Much like the film that I’m reviewing, I expect the next few paragraphs to be disjointed, strange… and extremely thrilling. Simply put, this is an awesome movie. A masterpiece? Let’s not get carried away. Christopher Nolan doesn’t seem to care about crafting a perfect movie. Just an awesome one. And this is what I know after viewing it: Nolan is an extremely talented technical filmmaker and a gifted storyteller, but his specialty is in making films that have you standing up with a fist pump and yelling “Fuck yeah!” as you high-five everyone in the vicinity.

First things first – the acting. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors of his generation. He’s proven it time and time again and with each movie of his that I see I feel worse and worse about myself because I realize more and more that I will never be even slightly as cool as he is. Even with that though, the rest of the cast also stands out. Joseph Gordon-Levitt particularly has shown us all what he can do with a major role in a blockbuster studio film. Many have been saying it all along, but I think we can now say it officially and with more confidence than ever: Joe is the real deal. The rest of the star-studded cast shines as well (Ellen Page drops the wisecracking shtick for a more subdued character and I’ve never enjoyed her more) and the amount of enjoyability from watching all these actors, including Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, at work made the flaws of the film much easier to overlook.

The story is fascinating and complex, but rather straightforward and not as difficult to follow as it is to explain. While it can be seen as criticism and I am sure that reviewers all over the internet are blasting the film for the telling, rather than showing aspect of the movie, it serves a purpose. I mean, the characters in the film literally explain just about everything, using Ellen Page’s “n00b” character as the plot device to let us viewers know what is going on, how these heists of mind-thievery function, and all the intricate details of the story. It is a necessity due to the nature of the story, although at times it still feels a bit forced, and one can only wonder why someone that is as closed off to other people as Leo’s Cobb would open up to this young girl so easily and freely.

Nolan’s insistence on using the most intense of music during scenes of casual conversation can be a bit much, but it serves to keep up the tempo of the film and since it’s a great score, it’s easier to swallow. It is also used to increase the emotional impact of each scene, which despite the technical genius of the film, it does lack the hard punch during the “hit your gut” moments. We do get to know the characters, but the intimate moments between them are scarce. We get a sense that Cobb and Arthur have been doing this together for a while, yet their relationship is rather cold and undeveloped. Same goes for the interactions between nearly all of the characters.

Still, none of the criticism matters much to me. The movie itself is a blast. With the majority of the movie existing inside dreams, there were no limits to what each scene could contain and Nolan took advantage of that, crafting some rather amazing visual moments. The movie is just damn fun and had my mind so engrossed in the idea of it all, I couldn’t help but leave the theater with a tingly feeling inside. Nolan is exceptional in his ability to craft a film that can be enjoyed superficially by those just wanting to get lost in a summer blockbuster and intellectually for those who wish to delve a little deeper. There are those rare times when I leave a movie and all I can think about is how much I want to walk back in and watch it again. This was one of those times.

- JONATHAN


 

#1 – memento. (2000)

 

I still remember the first time I saw memento.. The Film Society screened it at the university and a group of us went (some of us under duress since at the time, we had no idea who this Christopher Noland cat was). We watched, occasionally turning to each other with WTF looks on our faces and as the closing credits rolled, we sat in awe. Rather than our typical trip to the student pub for a few drinks and discussion, we opted to stay for the second screening of the night. Not that it did us any good.

It doesn’t matter how often you’ve seen memento., every time is like remembering a half forgotten dream. You remember bits and pieces but fitting them all together is a 2,000 piece puzzle that lays half finished in the basement rec room. And so every time I follow Guy Pearce’s Leonard Shelby through the story of murder and mystery I pick up a new piece of the puzzle and yet the entire picture remains bafflingly fuzzy (I must admit it was joyous to hear that Pearce and the film’s producers are in the same boat [11:07 mark]).

With memento., Nolan shared a peek of what we could expect from his future films and though he’s managed to deliver consistently excellent material (worth noting I’m not a huge fan of the “Batman” films but can appreciate the level of excellence at work), memento. stands, for me, head and shoulders above the rest. Certainly Inception treads similar territory but there’s a certain joy in having seen a movie more than a dozen times in the 12 years since it’s release and still finding something new every time.

memento. is the movie that keeps on giving and I’m happy to take – every single time.

- MARINA


 
 
 

RowThree Contributor’s Individual Lists:

ROT:
7) Following
6) Insomnia
5) Batman Begins
4) The Prestige
3) The Dark Knight
2) Inception
1) memento.

JANDY:
7) Insomnia
6) Following
5) The Dark Knight
4) Batman Begins
3) The Prestige
2) memento.
1) Inception

ANDREW:
7) Insomnia
6) Following
5) The Prestige
4) The Dark Knight
3) Batman Begins
2) Inception
2) memento.

ROSS:
7) Following
6) Insomnia
5) Batman Begins
4) The Dark Knight
3) The Prestige
2) Inception
1) memento.

MARINA:
7) Batman Begins
6) The Dark Knight
5) Following
4) Insomnia
3) The Prestige
2) Inception
1) memento.

MATT GAMBLE:
7) The Prestige
6) The Dark Knight
5) Insomnia
4) Batman Begins
3) Following
2) Inception
1) memento.

RYAN McNEIL (thematinee.ca):
7) Following
6) Batman Begins
5) Insomnia
4) The Prestige
3) memento.
2) Inception
1) The Dark Knight

KURT:
7) Following*
6) Batman Begins
5) Insomnia
4) The Dark Knight
3) Inception
2) memento.
1) The Prestige

BOB:
7) Following*
6) Insomnia
5) The Dark Knight
4) Batman Begins
3) Inception
2) memento.
1) The Prestige

TOM:
7) Following
6) Insomnia
5) Batman Begins
4) The Prestige
3) Inception
2) The Dark Knight
1) memento.

DAVID:
7) Following
6) Insomnia
5) Batman Begins
4) The Prestige
3) Inception
2) The Dark Knight
1) memento.

DOMENIC:
7) Insomnia
6) Following
5) Batman Begins
4) The Dark Knight
3) Inception
2) The Prestige
1) memento.





22 comments

  1. Inception was a long and boring adaptation of a Scrooge McDuck comic book story.

  2. I’ve only seen INSOMNIA twice and the last time was a few years ago but I’m thinking that a revisit now might bring it up higher on my list. There’s a very specific pacing to the Scandinavian mysteries that I’ve come to love over the last few years and I think some of it carried over into Nolan’s remake.

    • I was thinking the same. I haven’t seen it for years and to be fair I thought it was pretty good, but I can’t remember much about it so it had to be low down my list. I’m sure a re-watch would push it ahead of Batman Begins at least.

  3. 7) Following
    6) Batman Begins
    5) Memento
    4) Insomnia
    3) Inception
    2) The Prestige
    1) The Dark Knight

  4. antho42

    7)Insomnia — The original is so much better.
    6) Inception– Too much expositions and many subpar action sequences, especially the snow level.
    5) Following — For 5,000 dollars, it is an amazing student film.
    4) Batman Begins — A good origin story, which is difficult task to accomplish.
    3) Memento — Perhaps it should have been messier.
    2) The Dark Knight — My favorite of the New Wave Superhero films.
    1)The Prestige — Fuck you, Matt Gamble. This is pure cinema. The best steampunk film to date.

    • That’s the biggest problem with Insomnia: the original is SOO much better.

      America needs to stop remaking awesome Scandinavian films. Even great directors. Just stop.

  5. Haven’t seen Following or Insomnia

    5. Memento
    4. Batman Begins
    3. Inception
    1. The Dark Knight
    1. The Prestige

    Those top two I can not place either above the other.

  6. Cody Lang

    Not that anyone was asking my opinion.

    6.Batman Begins
    5. The Dark Knight
    4.Insomnia
    3. Inception
    2. The Prestige
    Tied for first: Memento/The Following.

    For a first film, and what appears to be a film-school film, I think The Following is outstanding. One of the better noirs made in the last twenty years for that matter.

  7. antho42

    I wanted Memento to be more Kubrickian or Lynching, rather than being a roller-coaster ride. I still love the film.

  8. 7. Following – Don’t remember much about it, to be honest.
    6. Batman Begins – The first half is strong, but the second half is an incoherent mess.
    5. Inception – I definitely enjoyed this on a first time watch, but have found very little depth on repeat viewings.
    4. Insomnia – Nolan’s most underrated work. The atmosphere, as well as the performances, really makes this one for me.
    3. Memento – Incredibly tight and intricate in structure without losing sight of its main character’s emotional state. Love the end scene.
    2. The Dark Knight – Major points for scale and ambition, here. Nolan wonderfully balances the arcs of its major characters with its numerous subplots to create a effective comic book crime thriller. One of his most thematically rich films.
    1. The Prestige – An eerie, complex look at how artists often lose themselves (or perhaps trap themselves) in their craft. Definitely the most rewarding on a re-watch.

  9. Jericho Slim

    I forgot how truly amazing Inception is. Any faults are overcome by how preposterously ambitious and complex this movie is.

    • Also it is basically a reverse Heist movie which in my mind gives them a ton of leeway for exposition because those pop heist movies are always full of that planning bit.

  10. 8) Insomnia
    7) Following
    6) The Dark Knight
    5) Batman Begins
    4) The Dark Knight Rises
    3) The Prestige
    2) Inception
    1) Memento

    One and two are pretty much neck & neck for me, but if I had a gun to my head, I’d go with Memento. And I’m totally weird with the Batman films. I think TDKR is a notch above simply because I think the final hour is intense and extremely well-done. I certainly wouldn’t declare it a masterpiece, nor would I say that any of Nolan’s Batman films are even close to being as good as Inception or Memento. But at least I had fun with TDKR.

    I feel like I have problems with all 3 of the Bathman films, particularly TDK, which I know is not a popular statement. But I think TDKR manages to be just kickass escapist fun once it kicks into high gear about halfway through.

      • Matt Gamble

        See, we agree on TDK.

        • Jim Laczkowski

          I wouldn’t say TDKR is this stellar piece of work (the first half is a bit of a slog) but once Bane does what he does, about halfway through I began to go “Oh, this is actually working for me completely.” I think everyone calling it a masterpiece needs to chill out, but everyone dismissing it with a vengeance is being too hard on it.

          Yes. TDK is a bit of a mess with an incredible lead performance from Ledger. The opening heist is fantastic, but the editing and cohesion of it all (especially during the climax with the two boats) is horrendous.

          • Got my tickets for Sunday afternoon. How is Hathaway? I heard she’s tremendous!?

          • Jim Laczkowski

            She’s more in the background, compared to Bane, but she’s fine overall. Nothing to write home about, but stunning as usual : )

            I still liked The Avengers much more; I give this a light 4/5.

    • “But I think TDKR manages to be just kickass escapist fun once it kicks into high gear about halfway through.”

      See I enjoyed the first act the most, because at that point I could have left the theatre and wrote down exactly what happened beat by beat and got the rest of it completely right. It was just painfully predicable how they telegraphed exactly what was going to happen.

      That said, I think Bane is the biggest problem in the movie with being such a lame villain. He too often made me laugh with the way he talked, came across as silly and was so easily beaten (like Bane always is). To me it’s easily the weakness of Christopher Nolan’s films by a very long shot.

  11. Watched TDKR last night, and I got say that I enjoyed it more than TDK. It doesn’t have a great performance like Heaths. But overall it’s a more complete and coherent film in my opinion. I always was in the Begins camp over TDK. Because i loved the nice long set up before the payoff. And that’s exactly what TDKR does. I haven’t been this satisfied with a conclusion of a trilogy since The Last Crusade.

  12. antho42

    [b]The Dark Knight Rises[/b] — Is it a perfect film? No. It is a great blockbuster? Yes, it is. Tonally, The Dark Knight Rises rises above its predecessor in the trilogy, because it manages to balance the grounded in realism and comic book aspects into a tonally coherent work. In fact, though it still attempts to ground itself in reality, this is the most operatic and most bombastic of the Batman films. And, dear lord, does operatic work with the superhero genre. After all, at its true core, Batman, and the superhero genre, is inherently a ridiculous concept. I loved the ridiculous voice of Bane and Michael Cain’s constant hamming it up, crying speeches.

    In recent years, the JJ Abraham’s school of film-making has gained currency. The film moving so fact to one scene to the next that the audience barely has time to register the illogical steps taken by the characters. This is evident in the 2009, Star Trek film. While Nolan does this, he does it with so much more panache that it transcends the narrative, editing weaknesses associated with this modern form of film-making. The Dark Knight Rises is a pure cinematic experience. It is a film that needs It is a film that needs to be experience in the big screen. Even the hand to hand fighting sequences– an area that Christopher Nolan has struggled with in the past — are exemplary; they are reminiscent of the slow light saber fights in the Old Trilogy.

    The biggest problem with the film is that it does not developed the relationship between Marion Colitard’s character and Bruce Wayne well enough; it feels too force. Another major problem with the film is the Howard Hughes segment, it which it is they only portion of the film that drags.
    [b]Rating: 9 out 10[/b]

  13. KeithTalent

    Am I crazy, or did this podcast cut off abruptly when Mr. Halfyard was speaking at the 39 minute mark?

    Anyway, my list would match Rot’s list exactly, then I would throw TDKR in behind Insomnia. Definitely need to re-watch Following one of these days though; I barely remember it, but after Mr. Gamble’s glowing commentary, I simply must see it again.

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