Dark Knight Pushback

kinnon —  July 19, 2008 — 4 Comments

Roger Ebert raves about it. There’s talk of a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger. My oldest bought advanced tickets and saw it @ 12:45am Friday morning. The middle child saw it late last night. They were both gobsmacked.


In the midst of the hype/excitement, cultural maven Brant Hansen has a very strong…and appropriate response.

“The Dark Knight” is cultural rigormortis. It’s what happens when we are done, and we are done. Jacques Barzun had it right, when he wrote a history of western culture up through the 1990s, and said, certainly, that our age is defined by boredom. We are excited by nothing, really, but maybe for a moment here, or a moment there, we can try to be turned on. Sex can do it (or fake sex, much more likely) but brutal violence can work, too, if for a short time.

Our culture is lying on the table, and “The Dark Knight” is just another jolt before the flatline resumes.

Please make a point of reading the whole thing. And watch this satirical response. [HT: Waving or Drowning.]



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

4 responses to Dark Knight Pushback

    I am now at peace.
    I secretly knew I could wait for it video.
    But the pressure. To conform. To be there for THE cultural event of the millennium.
    Whew! I am so relieved.
    I need a nap.

  2. Bill, for once I’m gonna push back. The movie IS excellent. I disagree with Brant’s assessment, even though I understand what he is trying to say. I didn’t find it mindless or filling the boring spaces at all. In fact it pushes bounds, in a surprisingly tame (for action movies) way. It’s not SAW or torture porn, which you could easily assume given Brant’s response.

    Ledger’s character asks some stunning questions in the movie about humanity. And the story actually poses some interesting responses about humanity in response. (Trying not to give the movie plots away). And Ledger really does completely steals the show. This is a villain that throws it all back in the face of those who are self-righteous. It’s a bit long but it continually surprised me.

    If you wait for the DVD, then you’ll miss seeing Ledger on the big screen.

  3. You know, while his posts makes some important points, I found myself wondering if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I hope so, because otherwise he comes off as condescendingly arrogant (which is clearly not his intention).

    There is more to this film and it’s popularity (and more to our culture, etc.) than this critique can embrace. It would have had more teeth for me if he’d acknowledge that. I haven’t even seen the film yet (though I really want to) and his post made me feel stupid and inferior.

    Just my 2 cents.


  4. hehe … I stopped watching the Batman movies when Michael Keaton stopped being Batman (I have a star crush on him … shhhh).

    But the thing is … when we (as a culture) get so entranced with entertainment that we begin to glorify the villain in a series rather than the hero, I think you have to say that our culture is in the downward swing of the pendulum.

    Art is a reflection of the culture which produces it. I think it can be argued that this is not a great reflection of where our culture is at at this time. Did Brandt overstate his case? Probably … but it’s worth considering nonetheless.


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