OF DARK KNIGHTS AND WHITE KNIGHTS, SHADOWS AND SHAMANS: A Chance Encounter
In the lead up to Dark Knight Rises, I’m going to start writing out my notes and scribbles regarding Batman Begins and Dark Knight.
It seems to me that Chris Nolan has been deeply influenced by Eastern thoughts around the interconnected dance of duality, illustrated by anything from the Tao to Hindu gods, and–as we see strongly in both Memento and Inception–Buddhism. This dance of duality is illustrated with multiple characters and forces in the Dark Knight series.
I’d like to start with Harvey Dent’s fundraiser, thrown at the Wayne mansion. Throughout the film, the Joker continues to obsessively claim that he and Batman are cut from the same cloth. Their relationship to Dent, displayed at the fundraiser, illustrates just how much.
Let’s start with their entrance. Both Wayne and the Joker enter the fundraiser theatrically, shouting, “where’s Harvey Dent?!” And though it’s for seemingly different reasons, they both sound awfully contemptuous of Harvey.
Now let’s go to the champagne. They both waste it.
Bruce spills it over the sky scraper. The Joker spills it into the air and then playfully drinks from the empty glass. We all know what that champagne is, because the film’s sage, Alfred, refers to it moments earlier as “liquid courage.” Harvey is very nervous and uncomfortable at the fundraiser. Alfred walks over to him and offers him the “liquid courage” and Harvey takes it gladly.
But Batman and the Joker do not need “liquid courage” in order to break away from fear. They both dwell in a world of shadows whose threshold requires the eradication of fear, so much so that mere “liquid courage” in a fancy glass at a fancy fundraiser has absolutely no power.
A lot more coming soon. Curious to hear your thoughts!