The Dark Knight

Rated 4.0

It’s not enough to say that Heath Ledger is great in The Dark Knight, when his Leatherface-by-way-of-Charles-Nelson-Reilly turn as the Joker actually saves an otherwise deeply flawed film. The anarchic crime spree through Gotham City by this self-described “agent of chaos” is unsettling, unforgettable stuff, and Ledger taps into a pitiless modern psychosis that Jack Nicholson wouldn’t dare dream about. The problem is that even though the Joker casts a long, creepy shadow over the entire film, Ledger is perhaps the fifth lead in Knight. The rest of the movie, aside from several brilliantly constructed action sequences, is overrun with pointless plotlines, leaden moralizing, awkward political timeliness, Christian Bale’s digitized growl, and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman going through their grandfather-figure motions.