Real darkness

Aurora tragedy casts permanent shadow on anticipated film

Others can, and will, point to the incessant attention given to The Dark Knight Rises for weeks and months before it opened. Yes, it was too much hype. No work of art, no matter how well made, merits the sort of attention we ought to give to serious issues.

It only got more intense in the last days before that fateful midnight showing in Aurora. Any sort of negative review generated some threats from fans toward the critics who offered them. The fact that the main villain was named Bane was translated, by a certain radio host who goes by the initials RL, as a liberal attack on Mitt Romney, which was just as ridiculous.

For a while on Friday, I pondered whether going to see the film was appropriate or even tasteless. But I did, partly because we shouldn’t have to live in fear, and partly to try and find any sort of tie between Nolan’s work and the tragedy that unfolded in its wake.

Round about the two-hour mark in the two hour, 45-minute epic, the message was received. Gotham’s moment of absolute despair and hopelessness could not help but remind me of the desperate scenes in Aurora, young people scrambling out of the theater, their shirts drenched in blood, carrying out the dead and wounded, families everywhere plunged into sudden grief.

Slowly, painfully, beautifully, Gotham is able to fight back, live again and carry on, mostly through the actions of those who don’t want to be bathed in glory. In that, Nolan hits again, perfectly, on his main trilogy theme - the nature of heroism, and the fact that what we consider it to be may not reflect the actual deeds, or the actual do-gooders.

All the performers, from Christian Bale’s Batman to Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, shine, as does old pros Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. And yes, a few of his words were tough to understand, and no one will ever tough Heath Ledger’s Joker, but Tom Hardy’s Bane was scary enough, and quite unforgettable.

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