A Gotham in Trouble
Briefly: The Dark Knight upset and unnerved me more thoroughly than any movie since INLAND EMPIREnot least because I wasn't really expecting such a brutal sideswipe into dementia and misery and the impossibility of justice, and not least because both films force you into such determined, relentless intimacy with these horrible grimacing masks of high-voltage terrorism and despair. Also, not least because, as a Chicago filmgoer, I had to walk out of this spectacle of Gotham eating itself alive and right into the city on the screen: creepy in the extreme. The Dark Knight's glories (ambition, scope, seriousness, sheen) and its lapses (protraction, editing coherence, subplot management) have been and will be well-rehearsed elsewhere. But let me go on record as saying what I haven't heard anyone else say: this movie scared the shit out of me.
And boy does Heath Ledger deserve whatever posthumous awards and nominations are coming his way, but let me again go on record as saying what I haven't heard anyone else say: he's not a supporting actor in this movie. The movie would be as hobbled without him as without Bale/Batman. He is a LEAD, and a brilliant one. Please consider him as such when you discuss him amongst yourselves.