Friday, April 20, 2007

Bat Day Afternoon

The evidence is mouting: the Dark Knight sequence in the big ol' bank is quite a signifant set-piece for the film. Possibly even the climax of the whole movie.

Exhibit A: the School bus. Suggesting some kind of hostage situation. And hostage situations don't play out quickly.

Exhibit B: the presence of The Joker on the scene - and in tidy garb. Is this later in his arc, when he's more in control?

Exhibit C: that an extended 'Bat Day Afternoon' would fit with Nolan's attempts to eschew typical superhero film plotting. Apparently. Maybe he's just pretending this is like a 70s cops and robbers drama, but with a guy in a rubber bat suit and another chap who looks like a clown and likes playing cards a bit too much. Strikes me as a better idea than anything Nolan and co. cooked up in the first installment.

Exhibit D: the jokerfied prop heads seen being taken onto the location. Looks like The Joker has perhaps made himself at home here.

Exhibit E: William Fichtner. He's too well known, and well-loved an actor to have a completely throw-away part. According to Batman on Film, he's been cast as 'the bank manager'. Clearly a quite substantial part.

Exhibit F: the ending of Batman Begins. Some comments have appeared online suggesting that, actually, Heath Ledger's appearance in the bank robbery scene is totally un-Joker like, with no make-up. Let's assume that's correct - does that necessarily place this scene early in the narrative, before he becomes Jokered? Well, how can it? He's already existing at the end of Batman Begins, it seems. The impression I get is that Ledger's make-up just isn't as obvious as people expected it to be. Of course, having said that - he was filmed in quite obvious make-up just yesterday. So go figure: either he's all green and white in this scene, or he isn't. The reports seem to be contradictory. Either way, it doesn't dictate that the bank robbery comes early in the plot at all.

I'm just connecting the dots here, and I might have drawn a saucepan instead of a roller coaster car, but something tells me The Dark Knight is going to feature an extended bank hostage situation. Doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. I hope I'm right - and I hope they do the idea justice.

And what's more, I think I can sniff my way through the make-up/no make-up scenario. Ledger wears a mask in a number of shots - no make-up needed beneath. In other shots, the mask is off. All of those Jokery heads could well be clown masks worn by the goons - and essential to the plot, perhaps, is not knowing which one the Joker is underneath. That might explain his (sometimes reported) dressed-down look too. Especially if one of his goons is in brighter grab.

We'll see soon enough.


Adam said...

The bank sequence is fairly early on in the Joker's career. Most likely, it's early in the film.

Anonymous said...

Just read on the site that William Fitchner said he was asked by Nolan last minute to play in the OPENING sequence. The scene he is in involves the bank, so this contradicts Exhibit E. My guess is that his role will not be too big at all.

Brendon said...

Yep, just saw that too. And reading the script pages, it has become increasingly clear that the bank sequence pretty much opens the film.

The final sequence seems to revolve around two boats, one full of prisoners, one full of civillians, and a difficult moral choice - let one boat die so that the other might go free, or try to save both knowing that it might cost everybody their lives.

More on that in an upcoming post.