Stealing the show
Why heist movies are more awesome than they look at first
So the new Batman movie is fucking awesome. That's just it. That's all there is to say. It's one of those movies where the lights come up and you say "wow". And then perhaps you applaud the screen, as though that does anything. Mm.

Of course this speaks for itself. Eighteen million dollars in midnight showings alone. By far the number one movie at the IMDb with an aggregate score of 9.7. "Yeah, but that's the IMDb. Look at what they gave Star Wars." There's cynicism and then there's cynicism, kiddos. The Top 10 at the IMDB includes Empire, yes. But it also includes Schindler's List, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Casablanca, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. So let's not kid ourselves: the top 25 movies at the IMDb, at least, are all dynamite.

The Dark Knight is not perfect, of course. Christian Bale is Batman, naturally, which means that Bruce Wayne and Patrick Bateman are essentially the exact same and if that's not a mindfuck I don't know what is (but take the 'e' out of Bateman and see what happens). Morgan Freeman plays an intelligent, soft-spoken, grandfatherly supporting character with a wry sense of humour and a strong moral code, which I'm sure is reaching for him since that is, ah, exactly every character he has ever played in any movie ever. Maggie Gyllenhaal is in it, apparently, though you couldn't sell it by me because she looks exactly like Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man.

There's also this sequence that is basically a heist movie, and here we get to the central crux of this ponderance. I like the heist movie, a genre essentially predicated on the question "what if the world were kind of like ours, but didn't have to follow any rules?". This is how you explain "magical realism" to people. "Have you ever read One Hundred Years of Solitude?" "Uh, no." "Well, you remember the new Italian Job?"

Rational thinking in heistworld is different, I imagine. Consider stupid logic puzzles.

Puzzle: "You have two glasses, one that can hold three cups and one that can hold five cups. How do you get four cups out of this?"
Normal person: "Fill the five and use it to fill the three (leaving two cups in the five). Empty the three, put the two cups in, refill the five and use it to fill the three (leaving three cups in the three and four in the five."
Heist person: "Fill the five. Turn the three over and hold it up to the sun, turning its base into a lens to focus the sun's rays on the five. The sun will melt through the three at exactly the same time as one cup has evapourated from the five, leaving four and allowing you to present the five with a flourish to your unsuspecting cohorts. Have sex with Julia Roberts."

Puzzle: "The bridge before you can only hold two things at a time. You need to cross such that nothing gets eaten. You have a bag of grain, a chicken, and a fox. You--"
Normal person: "A fox?"
Puzzle: "Yes. You--"
Normal person: "Like, a live fox?"
Puzzle: "Yes. A living fox that wants to eat the chicken."
Normal person: "Why the fuck do I have a fox?"
Puzzle: "In the contexts of the puzzle, you want to eat it. Apparently. Chicken eats grain, fox eats chicken. You eat fox."
Normal person: "..."
Puzzle: "Just answer it."
Normal person. "Fine. First, I shoot the fox--"
Heist person: "Grab hold of the fox, the chicken, and the grain. Step onto the bridge, causing it to collapse. Hold on to the bridge, allowing the grain to fall into the river and float downstream, where it clogs the intake valves of the hydroelectic dam, shorting power out to the city. This will cause a power pole to spark once and then explode before falling over, forming a natural bridge that you can cross after swinging yourself back up onto the bank with a grin. Have sex with Catherine Zeta Jones."

When you think about it, most bank robberies go like this:

1. Enter bank that has money
2. Threaten bank
3. Leave with money

Helicopters have nothing to do with this. But go up to a heist bank robber and tell him you want to rob a bank (make up some story about how the bank owner wronged you somehow; this will tug on their heart strings and make them want to help you). I guarantee you their first response will be to draw up a list like this:

Danny Ocean plan
Stolen from the set of the yet-undisclosed next Ocean's movie


In this sense they're like movies with dumb twists at the end, except more zany. But this is in and of itself one of the reasons why heist movies are fun. And this fun-ness is the reason why Ocean's 11 is a cool movie, and why Usual Suspects (the granddaddy of Retarded Twist Movies), Memento, Vanilla Sky, et. al. suck. You can't rewatch them. Like, I'm sure there are people who claim they rewatch The Prestige or whatever to "catch all the clues" they "missed the first time". But here's a hint: there aren't any! It's all about the twist!

Anyhow. In The Dark Knight the scene in question resolves so beautifully that you don't care (people in my theatre applauded). So there is my verdict: go see it. I don't care if you don't give a shit about Batman or you hate Heath Ledger (who by the way is absolutely phenomenal). It is an exceptional, genius movie on its own merits. And so you should watch it.

What the fuck. What are you still doing reading this? Go!

-Alex
La Chevre
22.07.2008 - 12h09
Comrade Alex
11.08.2008 - 11h27

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