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Life dictating art – It wasn’t the film that killed these people

Paul Peterson

There was a tragedy in Colorado early Friday morning. A clearly disturbed man opened fire with an automatic weapon on a theater audience attending a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Twelve people were murdered, and the injured numbered in the 70s. The loss of life would have been greater if his mail order weapon hadn’t jammed.
In response to the carnage Warner Brothers hasn’t released their figures for the film for the week end. They didn’t want to be seen as insensitive to the tragedy by making money on the film.
I have some thoughts on that.
It wasn’t the film that killed these people. It was a lone, disturbed gunman. He wanted to kill as many people as he could and he had some morbid sense of ceremony since there is a preview for a WB film coming out that shows a gunman firing a tommy gun into a theatre audience.
Audiences reacted to the horror and parents acknowledged that they didn’t send their kids to see the film because they were worried about a copycat shooting .
Here’s the thing.
These are two totally separate events.
One involves a madman who had murder in his sights and achieved this terrible vision.
The other event is a movie.
Let’s not confuse the two.
As someone in the business of owning movie theaters, I can’t imagine the terrible burden the people in Colorado feel. It touches you, and you want to reach out to the survivors.
I had a family who were coming to see a film one night and were involved in a motor vehicle crash that claimed the life of their son. I still think about them and every time the mom wants to do something to keep his memory alive we give her full reign. Another young woman was paralyzed in a car accident on the way to seeing a show at my Gananoque theater. We talk from time to time and I’m hoping she’ll be at the grand opening of our barrier-free cinema later this year. But it’s all cold comfort.
Tragedies happen and life is for the living.
On the big screen, The Dark Knight Rises, and what a film.
Christopher Nolan writes and directs this last installment in his Dark Knight trilogy and it is a masterful swan song.
Batman has been relegated to the dark corners of history, vilified and wrongfully blamed for the death of Harvey Dent, he has disappeared from the fabric of his beloved Gotham City.
However, being a superhero is a way of life, a calling, and when Bane, a cross between every bad wrestler and Hannibal Lecter shows up and starts wreaking havoc, The Dark Knight does indeed rise to the challenge.
Nolan does so many things right.
The cityscape is comic book inspired and brings to life the fanciful scenery that has always populated that form.
The villains are wildly exaggerated but credible and Nolan’s attention to character development, and in fact his deep mining of the superhero psyche makes this a drama with some significant action sequences.
It’s not perfect, but it’s very very good.
Christian Bale is a good actor and a great Bruce Wayne but his tough guy mumble/whisper is a little played out.
I can’t complain about the 2 hours and 45 minute running time but that really is a long time to be watching a bunch of nasty people try to get the poison in.
Anne Hathaway is very strong as the Catwoman, which since Halle Berry is almost a punchline in and of itself.
Gary Oldman is always interesting as Commish Gordon and Joseph-Gordon Levitt is interesting as the closest thing to a light hearted hero this film has to offer.
Bane is limited as  a bad guy. His plans are pure evil and he really does do a good job of messing with everyone but he falls a little shy of pure evil.
Still, overall this is a brilliant director at his finest and you don’t need to be a fan of comic books to find a lot to like in this film.
There is redemption for our caped crusader, and perhaps even some foreshadowing as to where the next chapter might begin. Batman did have Robin to pick up the slack. And there are always more villains to vanquish.
I was a fan of Nolan’s since Memento and this just adds to his legacy.
This film is not for little kids. It’s big time scary and the imagery is intentionally dark and frightening. Hold me I’m, scared.
 This is the psychological side of superheroing, and will probably give The Avengers a run for box office supremacy, once they release the numbers tomorrow.
I can’t say I loved this film, because I save that for movies that have some level of fun associated with watching them. This is a little too dark for that, but it sets the bar for all the other films to come in this genre. The bad news is it’s the end of Nolan’s vision for Batman.
The good news is he’s at the helm of a brand new Superman movie, due out next summer. Oh my.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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  1. Marnie says:

    The film industry is not blameless in regards to the violence we see today. Very little is censored in the gory movies of today. They glorify violence. Why do we consider such disturbing trash “entertainment”? A lot of it should have been left on the cutting room floor.

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