A little ultra-violence

Friday saw my final workshop with Miss Read at Uni – practical, useful and well-organised, and quite good fun really – will miss them!

Afterwards, ended up seeing ‘Wall-e’ which just hadn’t appealed to me, but oh how wrong I was. What a great little (and I use that in the complimentary sense as it was beautifully short) film. There were lots of small (under 5) children in the audience and other than toilet-breaks, all of them stayed the course of the film – that’s pretty extraordinary in my experience. I could ramble on for pages about the things I liked but really, you should see it, even if you don’t think it’s your sort of film. Sure it’s mainstream, but if I want to be purely entertained then it’s mainstream I want, and it’s delightfully spare, warm, sentimental, thoughtful, funny, deep and entertaining. And, it will leave you knowing that you’ve been manipulated, but with the knowledge that you actually, don’t really mind about that. I dare you to watch it and not want to say ‘Eveeeeeeeeeeee-a’ out loud in a gooshy voice.

In almost direct opposition was my experience of ‘The Dark Knight’. Messy, massively too violent for its 12A rating, and oddly and unexpectedly disappointing. The last 30 minutes seem to come from an entirely different film, many of the performances border on the pantomime, the plot is confusing (too many villains for starters), much of the dialogue is exposition-heavy and cheesy, Maggie Gyllenhaal is criminally underused and badly lit, and it’s incredibly unsatisfying. Small things in such an expensive film rile me as they smack of carelessness – like one character’s wiggling eyelid when he was supposed to be dead – DON’T THINK WE WON’T NOTICE. Even the violence which aims for gritty wince-ability, just becomes inappropriate very, very quickly – I frequently wanted to shout at the screen ‘ok we GET IT, The Joker (Heath Ledger) is handy and a bit of a psycho with a knife so we don’t need to see him keep squishing it into peoples faces’. Ledger’s performance is malevolent and grounded in a place of mental illness and chaos, and he’s probably the most entertaining thing in it, but it’s Gary Oldman’s acting chops which keep the film from flying off into laughability. I left knowing I’d been toyed with, and this time, I really didn’t like it.

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