Why so serious?

By Jane Rosen

There is no point really in reviewing a movie that made $400 million in the box office in just 18 days after it was unleashed upon the world. Batman fans have been have been eagerly anticipating the sequel of Batman Begins (2005).

However, the money making potential of the film has been unable to outweigh the unfortunate events which have gone on behind the scenes. Heath Ledger, the man responsible for sending chills up your spine playing the mesmerising and warped role of the Joker, was found dead on 22 January 2008. He was found in his apartment in Manhattan, with bottles of prescription sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and pain killers. It was concluded that he died of an accidental overdose. Ledger’s performance has gotten people talking and there are petitions for him to be nominated for an Oscar. If nominated, he will become the seventh-ever posthumous nominee after Network’s Peter Finch in 1977. His performance has been described as a “maniacal gusto” by Entertainment Weekly, as Ledger depicts a villain who turns crime into a contest. Would the sequel have been so popular if Ledger was still alive? For the premier, many people from around the world camped outside movie theatres with faces caked in white powder paint, sporting red mouths and black eyes as a tribute to Ledger.

Christian Bale, who played Batman in the film, was arrested on 22 July for allegedly assaulting his mother Jenny and sister Sharon. Bale had put his family up in a luxury hotel the night before the European premier of Dark Knight and ended up spending four hours at a London police station. The star was bailed out and not charged.

In connection with Bale’s performance, a special effects technician who was working on the film was killed whilst testing out a stunt run on the set of the movie. The victim was on a camera truck which was following the stunt Batmobile.

With two of the actors already down, Morgan Freeman, who played the role of Lucias Fox in the movie, was seriously injured in a car crash in Mississippi on the 4 August. Not only is he trying to recover from a few broken bones but his wife, Myrna Colley-Lee, is reportedly filing for divorce after 24 years of marriage.

On top of all this, critical debate continues to surround the box office hit. Have the producers of Batman used Heath Ledger’s death as a promotion for the Dark Knight? It seems that the fates of the characters of Gotham City have become a close reality in the lives of the actors.


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