Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Batman Begins


Batman Begins; Fantasy drama, USA, 2005; D: Christopher Nolan, S: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Rade Šerbedžija

As a boy, Bruce Wayne witnessed how his parents were killed by some criminals. As a grown up, he decides to find himself and goes to live as a poor man somewhere in Asia. There he gets put into jail but gets bailed out by mysterious Henri and leads him to the master Ra's al Ghul who teaches him secret skills in his temple. Still, Bruce leaves their group due to their radical worldviews that include killing and returns to Gotham City where he becomes Batman. He arrests the mobster Falcone and prevents the poisoning of the town by Dr. Crane/ Scarecrow who worked for Henri.

8 years after the last "Batman" sequel, "Batman & Robin", the producers decided to turn a new leaf and return the serial back to its roots and thus created a worthy prequel, "Batman Begins", an ambitious and serious achievement in the attire of drama. Director Christopher Nolan ("Memento") gathers positive points on story and style, but also looses some in the fact that his "Begins" shares the same dilemma as many modern movies: it lacks something special and magical. The unusual sequences are all undoubtedly cleverly conceptualized, like the one where we find Bruce Wayne untypically in jail fighting with inmates or the one where he exercises in some Asian temple with ninjas, which are really bizarre and surprising, and the film also has to be given acclaim for exploring the protagonists psychological side and his aversion for criminals, but even crime is observed from the sociological perspective (in one scene Rachel shows Bruce in his car a poor neighborhood and tells him that poverty drives people to steal), up to the banal finale, while Gary Oldman and Michael Caine are excellent (Alfred playing a tune on a piano which opens the path to Wayne's cave). All in all, "Begins" is by no means weaker than Burton's "Batman", yet it still falls into the category of, what Jonathan Rosenbaum would call, "Dead Movies" - everything shown is formally well done, but somehow anemic, soulless and sterile. Likewise, it is the weakest of Nolan's critically acclaimed Batman movies.

Grade:++

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