The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Film Review


Like many, many cinemagoers, I was ridiculously excited about this film. Although, having said that, I haven’t re-watched Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, I didn’t participate in a movie marathon of these three films and I didn’t go to a midnight screening, or even a screening over the first weekend.  I guess I am not a truly dedicated, passionate, obsessed fan. But I was still ridiculously excited.

I don’t want to recount the plot at all. If you haven’t seen the first two, get them out and watch them, then go see it. If you don’t want to, then there may be some things you don’t understand. Deal with it. All I’ll say is that the film is set several years after the last film and Gotham is a safe city. A lot of the characters are back – Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale), Alfred (Michael Caine), Fox (Morgan Freeman), Commissioner Gordan (Gary Oldman). And we’ve got some new ones – Bain (Tom Hardy), Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Selina/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Miranda (Marion Cotillard) and the delightful surprise of seeing Ben Mendelsohn, albeit totally underused, as Daggart.

The film had much of the stuff that we’ve come to expect over the previous two films; some gruesome violence, authority figures not trusting each other and lots and lots of explosions. If it’s sounding boring or formulaic, it’s not. Yes, it is long – almost three hours, but time passes quickly in the film. Lives and the whole of Gotham city are transformed. And, in the true nature of cinema, everything rests on the final few seconds. Having said that, I picked several of the twists, which annoyed me. For me to pick up on them, there must have been too many hints. Either that, or I’m getting smarter.

There’s been a lot of talk about what the film symbolizes. Is it anti-The Occupy movement? Is it more about anti-capitalist terrorism? I’m not sure what Christopher Nolan intends from the film, how he intends it to be read. For me, it’s an awesome action film with a bit more depth than many, a fabulous cast and is well and truly worth the wait.

See it in the cinema. See it on a big screen with good sound. See it with a big audience. Just see it.

This review first appeared at on August 27, 2012



Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Film Review


From the opening shot with the actors playing the Marine recruits having their heads roughly shaved at the start of the training, Kubrick captures the life in US service during the Vietnam War. It follows the recruits being relentlessly tormented by Gny. Sgt, Hartman (R. Lee Ermer) through their training then following them to Vietnam; to the impatience of life on base to the horrors of life in the field.

There really can be no denying that Kubrick was a master filmmaker. I wonder if a film now could be made with the long, drawn out establishing shots like this. Kubrick captures so many stages of life as a Marine. The destruction of the spirit of less capable recruits like Private Leonard (Vincent D’Onofrio); the anger and bloodlust of some in the field like Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin); the speculation and curiosity of the observer journalist/soldier like Joker (Matthew Modine). It’s a beautiful and horrible yet magnificent film.

Full Metal Jacket was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.