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The Dark Knight

Why So Serious? 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Christopher Nolan 
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman  
An image from The Dark Knight

In 2008 The Dark Knight became one of the biggest sequels of all time. Building on Batman Begins, this dark take on Gotham brought a new spin to one of the classic bad guys of comic book history, with Heath Ledger’s portrayal of ‘The Joker’.

Set not on making himself filthy rich, he aims to introduce a little anarchy by throwing a spanner into the works and upsetting the established order. Batman’s problem – how to stop a man that even the famous Gotham mobsters can’t keep in check?

Whilst Ledger took all of the awards, Christian Bale is superb. Torn between the woman he loves and the city he has sworn to protect, by a maniacal opponent who simply finds him “too much fun” to want to kill him. Throw conflicted roles by Eckhart and Gyllenhaal into the mix, along with splashes of Oldman, Freeman and Caine and there’s really not a weak link to be found.

Christopher Nolan was well known in film circles prior to 2008’s stand-out blockbuster. Memento, Batman Begins and The Prestige had set his career off at a sprint. With The Dark Knight he pushed himself up to the next level – one that Inception and The Dark Knight Rises have had to live up to.

With a plot to match the acting and direction, as well as all the effects you’d expect from a comic book blockbuster, make sure you see The Dark Knight as it was made to be seen – at the cinema.

Robert Gardner


The eagerly anticipated sequel to, ‘Batman Begins’ (Christopher Nolan’s rejuvenation of the Batman films), ‘The Dark Knight’ continues in the exploration of the deeper and darker emotions of Bruce Wayne’s famous crime-fighting alter-ego. Batman’s zeal and progress towards eradicating crime from the face of Gotham City, with the help of Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), ultimately sees the rise of a vicious, new, criminal mastermind known to the public as, ‘The Joker’ (Heath Ledger). The Joker plans to kill Batman, restoring the city to the corrupted, crime ridden chaos it used to be. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) finds himself driven to more and more extreme measures in order to combat such a psychotic menace, including sacrificing his affections for his love Rachael Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and abandoning any chance of a normal life. Much like with ‘Batman Begins’ we are left with a tantalising hint to one of Batman’s future adversaries…

The film cleverly contrasts the two main characters, pitting Batman’s introverted, stoic, justice against the extraverted, anarchy of the Joker yet drawing intriguing similarities in their detachment from sanity. The film contains a series of truly amazing performances notably from the late Heath Ledger. His terrifying, creepy portrayal of the disturbed Joker surpasses previous attempts by even such venerated actors as Jack Nicholson, in what is his last full performance.

Once again, Christian Bale depicts Bruce Wayne as a man falling further from his humanity into a more bestial, shadowy Batman in order to achieve his goals. Much like ‘Batman Begins’, the film provides a gritty, more realistic adaptation of the DC comic characters, dispelling the trends of the film’s many camp, predecessors. The title alone lacks the customary, ‘Batman’ descriptor. Christopher Nolan’s direction makes for an intense, emotional viewing and still captures the grand, gothic scale of Gotham City. ‘The Dark Knight’ starkly stands out above all other comic book film adaptations and is an absolute must see for this term!

Alexander Bruce 'Danger' Dean

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Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Autumn Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Autumn Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Autumn Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Autumn Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Autumn Term (35mm)
2021/2022 Summer Term (digital)
2021/2022 Summer Term (digital)