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The 2008 mega success about Batman's attempts to defeat a criminal mastermind known only as the Joker.

Some people really underestimate how well written TDK is.

Posts: 1412
One of many examples: Some guy on IMDB (go figure) in "The Fountain" subforum was complaining that TDK was mindless entertainment. I literally had to pause to understand that concept. I would have assumed that a fan of Aronofsky had the wit to understand how well Nolan writes his films, so it just baffled me to how the skillful writing of TDK could go over his head so easily.

TDK is just crammed with depth, themes, emotions, philosophy, and characterization, so much that I'm able to spot something new every time I watch it. I haven't seen much in-depth discussions of TDK here, but over on SHH they've analyzed that movie to death, and it's mind blowing how much thought was put into the story of this movie.

Oh well!
Posts: 45
Location: United Kingdom
Very true.

It's brilliantly structured, and the dialogue is excellent throughout. Prime example:

The first lines of the movie are 'Three of a kind. Let's do this'. Great foreshadowing of the triumvirate of Batman, Dent and Gordon that will later dominate the narrative.

I love how Joker removes a clown mask to reveal his painted clown face.

Another thing I noticed was Wayne's forensic examination of the shattered bullet is juxtaposed with Reese's forensic investigation of Wayne Enterprise's paperwork.

The dialogue in general is intelligent and unpredictable, but its meaning is never unclear. You don't tend to see that level of sophistication in a lot of mainstream movies nowadays - too many films contain dialogue (and narrative for that matter) which equates clarity with spoon-feeding.

On the other hand, the dialogue in The Dark Knight is very direct when it comes to underlying themes, with the result that some people feel the film lacks subtext. I appreciate its boldness, however. At least the insights the characters share are thought-provoking.

And the Joker is written (and performed) perfectly.
Posts: 1412
Muezzin wrote:On the other hand, the dialogue in The Dark Knight is very direct when it comes to underlying themes, with the result that some people feel the film lacks subtext. I appreciate its boldness, however. At least the insights the characters share are thought-provoking.

I thought the dialogue was perfect, and it executed subtext an appropriate manner. The thing with Nolan's films is this: There's SO much happening in his stories, both in terms of external and internal conflicts, that if the characters just danced around the subject without expressing themselves directly, you wouldn't have any idea what was going on. TDK is far too complex of a story, it doesn't have the luxury of being able to use heavy subtext.

Inception is another example. People complain about the over-usage of exposition, but they have to understand that if it wasn't for that exposition, the film would have been incomprehensible, it would have been just another David Lynch film. Nolan wasn't trying to make an action packed Eraser Head, he was trying to make an understandable, yet thought provoking science fiction film. If we didn't have the characters explaining things every step of the way, not a single person would have had a clue what was going on. The movie would have bombed, horribly.

Let's take the ending of TDK for example. The Joker did not flat out explain what he did to Dent and why he did it to Dent, there was plenty of subtext there, but he explained it clear enough for the audience to understand what was happening. If he wasn't so clear, the audience would not have been able to understand the core philosophy of the Joker, it would be impossible, the message would not have gotten across. This is because Nolan deals with things that can't be explained through vague dialogue. And then Gordon and Batman's plan for him to take Dent's wrap... people didn't understand that as it was, could you imagine if that whole scene relied on heavy subtext? People would have just left the theater with not a single question answered.

Nolan uses subtext lightly, yet appropriately to make his dialogue sound natural, yet all the while with the messages and meanings very clear. This is what makes him such a great writer, is the fact that he's able to find a balance between subtext and literal dialogue. If everything becomes subtext while dealing with heavy themes, we get Tree of Life... an amazing movie, yet with the majority of the audience leaving the theater with not a single clue of what happened, therefore hating it.
Posts: 45
Location: United Kingdom
I should have clarified. I personally do not feel the need to criticize the film for an alleged lack of subtext. However, while I can see where people are coming from when they make that complaint, they don't really have a leg to stand on if that makes sense.

MiracleSleeper wrote:
Muezzin wrote:On the other hand, the dialogue in The Dark Knight is very direct when it comes to underlying themes, with the result that some people feel the film lacks subtext. I appreciate its boldness, however. At least the insights the characters share are thought-provoking.

I thought the dialogue was perfect, and it executed subtext an appropriate manner. The thing with Nolan's films is this: There's SO much happening in his stories, both in terms of external and internal conflicts, that if the characters just danced around the subject without expressing themselves directly, you wouldn't have any idea what was going on. TDK is far too complex of a story, it doesn't have the luxury of being able to use heavy subtext.

I tend to agree, especially because the dialogue so eloquently explains the themes.

Navel-gazing 'character studies' (inverted commas because the best way to study a character is to see him or her in action of some kind, it's what we do that defines us :))are more suited to extreme levels of subtext.

Inception is another example. People complain about the over-usage of exposition, but they have to understand that if it wasn't for that exposition, the film would have been incomprehensible, it would have been just another David Lynch film. Nolan wasn't trying to make an action packed Eraser Head, he was trying to make an understandable, yet thought provoking science fiction film. If we didn't have the characters explaining things every step of the way, not a single person would have had a clue what was going on. The movie would have bombed, horribly.

Well, without getting this thread moved to the Inception or Film Analysis forum, the fact that Inception's exposition continued even into the film's final act bothered me (for example, if you're following the film, it doesn't really need to be explained how Cobb and Mal made their dream house at the top of a dream skyscraper in the dreamland of Limbo).

However, Inception does not hold the audience's hand when it comes to the actual inception itself, ony for establishing the rules of the universe, which is excellent.

Let's take the ending of TDK for example. The Joker did not flat out explain what he did to Dent and why he did it to Dent, there was plenty of subtext there, but he explained it clear enough for the audience to understand what was happening. If he wasn't so clear, the audience would not have been able to understand the core philosophy of the Joker, it would be impossible, the message would not have gotten across. This is because Nolan deals with things that can't be explained through vague dialogue. And then Gordon and Batman's plan for him to take Dent's wrap... people didn't understand that as it was, could you imagine if that whole scene relied on heavy subtext? People would have just left the theater with not a single question answered.

I agree. The only teensy tiny whiney thing that bothered me was some of the wording of Gordon's ending monologue ('watchful protector' sounded clunky when I first heard it, but I'm just some guy on the Internet). But you're right.

Nolan uses subtext lightly, yet appropriately to make his dialogue sound natural, yet all the while with the messages and meanings very clear. This is what makes him such a great writer, is the fact that he's able to find a balance between subtext and literal dialogue.

So true. I love Lenny's line in Memento: 'Can't remember to forget you.'

I also like the approach to dialogue in The Prestige, for example:

Borden: (paraphrasing) Where's Fallon?

Angier: How fast can you dig?

Sort of give the audience 2 + 2 but don't give them 4, you know?

If everything becomes subtext while dealing with heavy themes, we get Tree of Life... an amazing movie, yet with the majority of the audience leaving the theater with not a single clue of what happened, therefore hating it.

I've yet to see the Tree of Life, but I totally get your point. What I love about the Nolans is that they're both able to clearly communicate brilliant ideas in a clear, accessible way, which is the mark of excellent writing.
Last edited by Muezzin on January 2nd, 2012, 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1412
Muezzin wrote:I should have clarified. I personally do not feel the need to criticize the film for an alleged lack of subtext. However, while I can see where people are coming from when they make that complaint, they don't really have a leg to stand on if that makes sense.

MiracleSleeper wrote:I thought the dialogue was perfect, and it executed subtext an appropriate manner. The thing with Nolan's films is this: There's SO much happening in his stories, both in terms of external and internal conflicts, that if the characters just danced around the subject without expressing themselves directly, you wouldn't have any idea what was going on. TDK is far too complex of a story, it doesn't have the luxury of being able to use heavy subtext.

I tend to agree, especially because the dialogue so eloquently explains the themes.

Inception is another example. People complain about the over-usage of exposition, but they have to understand that if it wasn't for that exposition, the film would have been incomprehensible, it would have been just another David Lynch film. Nolan wasn't trying to make an action packed Eraser Head, he was trying to make an understandable, yet thought provoking science fiction film. If we didn't have the characters explaining things every step of the way, not a single person would have had a clue what was going on. The movie would have bombed, horribly.

Well, without getting this thread moved to the Inception or Film Analysis forum, the fact that Inception's exposition continued even into the film's final act bothered me (for example, if you're following the film, it doesn't really need to be explained how Cobb and Mal made their dream house at the top of a dream skyscraper in the dreamland of Limbo).

However, Inception does not hold the audience's hand when it comes to the actual inception itself, ony for establishing the rules of the universe, which is excellent.

Let's take the ending of TDK for example. The Joker did not flat out explain what he did to Dent and why he did it to Dent, there was plenty of subtext there, but he explained it clear enough for the audience to understand what was happening. If he wasn't so clear, the audience would not have been able to understand the core philosophy of the Joker, it would be impossible, the message would not have gotten across. This is because Nolan deals with things that can't be explained through vague dialogue. And then Gordon and Batman's plan for him to take Dent's wrap... people didn't understand that as it was, could you imagine if that whole scene relied on heavy subtext? People would have just left the theater with not a single question answered.

I agree. The only teensy tiny whiney thing that bothered me was some of the wording of Gordon's ending monologue ('watchful protector' sounded clunky when I first heard it, but I'm just some guy on the Internet). But you're right.

Nolan uses subtext lightly, yet appropriately to make his dialogue sound natural, yet all the while with the messages and meanings very clear. This is what makes him such a great writer, is the fact that he's able to find a balance between subtext and literal dialogue.

So true. I love Lenny's line in Memento: 'Can't remember to forget you.'

I also like the approach to dialogue in The Prestige, for example:

Borden: (paraphrasing) Where's Fallon?

Angier: How fast can you dig?

Sort of give the audience 2 + 2 but don't give them 4, you know?

If everything becomes subtext while dealing with heavy themes, we get Tree of Life... an amazing movie, yet with the majority of the audience leaving the theater with not a single clue of what happened, therefore hating it.

I've yet to see the Tree of Life, but I totally get your point. What I love about the Nolans is that they're both able to clearly communicate brilliant ideas in a clear, accessible way, which is the mark of excellent writing.

Good post man. I see it as this. The reason Nolan has become so popular is because he's found that balance between being able to please movie buffs, and being able to entertain the masses, and one of his key ways of executing this is with his style of dialogue. He knows how to balance things out, which is why TDK and Inception were so successful.
Posts: 77
So uhh who ACTUALLY read all of that...
Posts: 1412
Fallz wrote:So uhh who ACTUALLY read all of that...

It's science: the more words, the more truth. 8-)
Posts: 45
Location: United Kingdom
Fallz wrote:So uhh who ACTUALLY read all of that...

Summary of all of the above posts:

Miracle Speaker wrote:The Dark Knight's script is an underappreciated masterpiece full of depth, themes, emotion, philsophy and great characterisation.


Muezzin wrote: It has excellent structure with patterns you might notice on multiple viewings, and great dialogue that is clear without spoonfeeding, but some people think it's too direct and lacks subtext.


Miracle Speaker wrote:Subtext?! Nolan's films are far too awesomely complex for subtext!


Muezzin wrote:True.


Miracle Speaker wrote:Yup.


Fallz wrote:Image


:batface:
Posts: 1412
Muezzin wrote:
Fallz wrote:So uhh who ACTUALLY read all of that...

Summary of all of the above posts:

Miracle Speaker wrote:The Dark Knight's script is an underappreciated masterpiece full of depth, themes, emotion, philsophy and great characterisation.


Muezzin wrote: It has excellent structure with patterns you might notice on multiple viewings, and great dialogue that is clear without spoonfeeding, but some people think it's too direct and lacks subtext.


Miracle Speaker wrote:Subtext?! Nolan's films are far too awesomely complex for subtext!


Muezzin wrote:True.


Miracle Speaker wrote:Yup.


Fallz wrote:Image


:batface:

:lol: It's amazing how quick that conversation could have been.
Posts: 45
Location: United Kingdom
More seriously...

The prologue introduces the Joker, but holds off revealing which of the clowns he is until the end of the scene.

Batman's introduction in the film pulls a similar fakeout with the copycat Batmen, until the real Batman is revealed.

I like that parallel.
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