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Deciphering The Dark Knight 28 July 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.

The Dark Knight is a brilliant movie that applies an extraordinary amount of social commentary. In a nutshell, the Joker is this terrorist who sends his mentally ill followers on suicide missions. He kills people by torching hundreds of barrels of oil. His opposition is a rising politician, Harvey Dent, who has the whole city of Gotham believing in his message of hope and change. The hero, Batman, engages in unethical activities, including torture and eavesdropping to get the answers that he seeks.

The Joker and his clowns = the Devil….Osama b. Laden and al-Qaeda, OR, he’s the ….American Dreamer, chasing the American dream.  Meaning, the Joker is the American dream gone sour, as symbolized by his smudged red-white-and-blue makeup.  That would make Bruce Wayne/Batman the other side of the American Dream, being the person who has everything, yet does not have the one thing he really wants (his companion).

DA Harvey Dent = Sen. Barack Obama

We’ve also got the Chinese businessmen stealing money from America. Money that was stolen in the first place.

Still, I hope that doesn’t mean that Batman is GWB.



1. talib - 10 August 2008

is this the first movie-centered post on othermatters? well, spoilers below.

that’s an interesting interpretation of dent. if he represents BO, then the movie is quite pessimistic about politics considering how dent turns out. in line with this is the situation with the two ferries. when the ferry with the civilians puts things to a vote, a good majority vote to blow up the other boat to save themselves. but in the end, no one wants to actually physically pull the trigger. i think that is a powerful message. and one of the best lines from the joker makes sense here: “see i’m not a monster. i’m just ahead of the curve.”

2. ABD [editor] - 14 August 2008

to your question, talib:

VARANGALI did a tongue-in-cheek review of An Untamed Heart some time back.

MOZAFFAR has also written on movies before—see, for example, his ode to Spielberg: Steven Spielberg Thinks I’m Dumb.

3. talib - 14 August 2008

ah, i remember those…

4. MOZAFFAR - 14 August 2008

Salams talib and ABD,

Jazaks for your posts.

I don’t know yet if the movie is pessimistic about politics. We will have to wait for the conclusion of the trilogy. It is definitely optimistic about human nature. Keep in mind that we were informed of a similar situation in the previous film *Batman Begins*. There, Ra’s al-Ghul tells Batman/Wayne that the League of Shadows previously tried to destroy Gotham but underestimated the altruism of its citizens, like Bruce Wayne’s parents. This time, we see the same thing, but with the two ships.

But, it also regards human optimism as something very fragile, as witnessed in Harvey Dent’s moral collapse. He was the most optimistic of Gotham, but when he lost his beloved, he abandoned all optimism, investing his decisions no longer on optimism (and by extension, duty), but now on chance: the toss of the coin.

Both the Joker and the League of Shadows believed that they were either above the law or ahead of the law, and that was their blunder.

Omer M

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