Sunday, January 06, 2008


I'm very, very disappointed in the new preview trailer for "The Dark Knight." Heath Ledger's version of the Joker just... just doesn't cut it. That's no slam on Ledger himself; I think he's a fine, talented actor. But I don't like how he's chosen to play the Joker in this case, and I don't like director Christopher Nolan's take on who and what the Joker is. As you'll see when you watch the trailer, the Joker is simply a nutty, nameless guy who paints his face. Is he a genius with chemicals? We'll see. He does seem, in this version of the story, to have a bizarre love of heavy-duty firearms.

Ledger's line delivery is also annoying. He strives for a bizarre cadence ("Co...missioner!") and adopts an exaggerated American nasality; this latter problem bugs me because Ledger, an Aussie who has lived in the States, can affect a perfect American accent without shifting into caricature. When I close my eyes, I don't hear Heath Ledger: I hear Paul Giamatti (listen to Giamatti in the trailer for Shoot 'Em Up"... by the way, Roger Ebert's review of this movie makes me want to see it).

I'm hoping the actual Batman film is an order of magnitude better than this preview. And I'm beginning to wonder if the Euro and Aussie thespian usurpation of American comic icons* is sullying our red-meat, graphic-novel purity. Too many speakers of British English spoil the American icon.

Does my "purity" talk make me sound too Korean?

*Batman is played by Christian Bale, a Welshman. The Joker is played by Heath Ledger, an Australian. Commissioner Gordon is played by Gary Oldman, an Englishman. Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred is played by Michael Caine, also an Englishman (though this last is, I suppose, only proper).



Anonymous said...

Let's hope your fears are misplaced. I don't have too much of a problem with a bunch of furriners playing our American icons, especially when those furriners have played Americans before, and done so quite adeptly.

I still have high hopes for The Dark Knight. I think it will be a blast.

Jelly said...

Nice one, Kevin. You criticized Heath Ledger and now he's dead. I think there's a connection.