Those expecting a fine experience based on prior Nolan projects, even Bale ones, are bound to be disappointed. I was.
There are only two redeeming elements here. The first is the mildly radical cutting of the action scenes, at least those involving fights. This technique is usually used when the budget requires confusion in details. Here it to underscore the psychotropic nature of the whole film experience.
And the second pleasure is the folding of that psychotropic notion: the hero faces his fears through a hallucinogen; the plot revolves around loosing that hallucinogen to the public at large (the Batman comics always has Gotham stand for all of the world) inexplicably causing them to kill each other rather than just blissing out or having a bad day. Don’t they know that about 30% of all urban livers do this anyway?
And the third fold is the notion that we the viewers are partaking of that same substance. At least that’s the way Nolan’s sketch stood when he committed to the film. And it is the way the thing begins, until into the story creep Hollywoodisms: the first is Bruce falling into the ice as consequence of “losing situational awareness.”
Caine was once a fine actor, but since coming out of retirement, his edge is gone. Freeman was never an actor, just a friendly prop. But as the movie becomes more and more “Goldfinger”-like, the real miscue as an actor is Katie Holmes. She has no presence at all.
And try the Harrison Ford acting test on her. This is a well known problem with people that cannot act. They try so hard that their conscious mind does all the work, but their inner self just doesn’t believe it. So you get the right side of the face going through all the motions and the left side remaining placid, as if it were in suspended animation.
Look at Katie’s face, especially at the end. Notice how Katie’s dead face is on her left, asleep and her character’s lines are spoken only on the right. And those lines! The concern identity: you aren’t whose inside you, you are how you act.
The Coens actually put actors like this in positions so they can dump on them. Nolan isn’t so clever or cruel. I guess he thought he was getting the actress of “Pieces of April,” someone larger than the role. Not here.
Posted in 2005
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.