I Saw the First Six Minutes of The Dark Knight

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Last night Warner Brothers decided to screen the first six minutes of The Dark Knight, a.k.a. Batman Two (but not Batman Returns). For some reason — basically because it would be cool — director Christopher Nolan shot the first six minutes of the movie in a fancy IMAX format. Then he showed them to a bunch of dorks and journalists and bloggers. I was there.

I might be the only person I know who didn’t love Batman Begins. Minus ten geek points for me, I know, but I thought it was too psychologically pat, and the way Nolan filmed the action felt jump-cutty and overhyped to me. Maybe it’s because I saw it on a plane.

But this. This was different. This was good.

UGO wrote out the whole tick-tock (<--- journalist slang for "blow-by-blow") of what we saw, but basically it was a self-contained sequence in which the Joker, now played by Heath Ledger, pulls off a bank job, capping his masked associates (see pic) one by one as the heist unfolds. It’s beautiful, clean, taut storytelling, and Ledger’s take on the Joker is fresh. His make-up is very creepy — he looks less like a clown and more like somebody who’s suffered extreme chemical burns that kinda sorta look like clown make-up if you don’t look too closely. And Ledger plays him lower-class, with a Bronx accent and a lumbering, shambling gait. The money line: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.” I seem to remember that as a line from Aeon Flux, but whatever, it works.