Monday, 28 July 2008

Of Batman

You'll notice I haven't reviewed The Dark Knight yet. This is because I don't yet know quite what to make of it. I have a feeling that many of the professional reviewers are misreading the allegory, whereas I think the film is probably about the insufficiency of allegory as a historically revealing mode in what I'll reluctantly call the post-9/11 world.

Topics the film immediately prompted me to think about...

- Mike Nelson installations: the flash facades of a globalisation riddled with, and founded upon, vast and undecorated secret rooms whose presence is unacknowledged. This is nothing new - see Slavoj Zizek's Pervert's Guide to Cinema - but I was surprised by how close some of the set design was to resembling Nelson's work. Deliberate?
- Commerical injunctions to levity: The Joker's 'Why so serious?' catchphrase seemed to me a hypertrophied recital of the anti-serious, hence anti-analytical, hence anti-critical, tendency in contemporary advertising.
- The almost parodic proliferation of themes of doubling and symbiosis in the narrative. No-one is without their uncanny counterpart. Bruce Wayne, of course, functions as the nexus of multiple personalities. I feel that Christopher Nolan intended this as a form of resistance against the exegetical reductio the idea of the double in, for example, Confessions of a Justified Sinner might offer. In their immediate interruptions and abruptions of an expected narrative spacing, Nolan's films to date have displayed an acute awareness of the ways in which 'uncanny' readings of texts can themselves become too seduced by the promise of ossified truth-content.

Obviously, then, the task of reviewing The Dark Knight will also be the task of not getting sent to Pseuds Corner...

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