Thursday, June 09, 2005

batman begins (nolan, 2005)

Just frightful. Ten years ago, the Batman shepherds replaced a director with great style (Tim Burton...well, he has great style sometimes) with a director with an enormous talent for bad style (Joel Schumacher). Raspberries occurred. Catastrophe ensued. Consequently, they hedged their bets and chose a director with no style at all, Christopher Nolan. When I say "no style," I don't mean "minimalism" or anything so promising. I mean this is a Delbert Mann film. Batman Begins isn't pretty and it isn't ugly. The visual design isn't baroque and it isn't utilitarian. It's just exhausted: they're trying to kickstart a dying enterprise with a white elephant. Okay, Star Wars III is white elephant art, too, but it's gorgeous, stylish, and affecting. (I like David Lean's fatty boom-batties sometimes, too - just letting you know where I stand.)

The dialogue is unspeakable. "There's...hope on the streets." Each line of the script is worse than the last. Each member of the Poseidon Adventure-style cast of all-stars seems to have been punished for his good deeds. Liam Neeson (with his ridiculous beard), poor Gary Oldman (whose biggest acting challenge is making "car chase faces," you know, the facial gymnastics that suggest the actor is driving a car real fast), poor Morgan Freeman (his most shamelessly "yessah boss" role since Robin Hood), poor Rutger Hauer, poor Michael Caine, etc., etc. And - oh mother of Christ - poor, poor, poor Tom Wilkinson, impersonating an Eye-talian mafia lord. Just about the only people who make it out alive are Christian Bale (all the same, still miles away from being robbed of the Oscar for American Psycho) and Cillian Murphy.

That's it. Some cute moments here and there. Otherwise, it's dogshit. Don't step in it.

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