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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Dark Knight’s Duels Will Leave You Breathless

July 26, 2008

With a record-breaking opening weekend in America tucked under its utility bat-belt, Christopher Nolan’s dark, brooding sequel swoops on to these shores amid a storm of hype and feverish anticipation.

No film could live up to such expectations, but The Dark Knight soars tantalisingly close, probing the inner demons of Gotham’s favourite crime-fighter as he duels with his most famous adversary.

The death of Heath Ledger from an accidental overdose of prescription medication casts a long shadow over Nolan’s gloomy picture, adding a tragic dimension to The Joker.

Ledger’s powerhouse portrayal of the demented clown with an unquenchable thirst for anarchy is being tipped for an Oscar.

Certainly, it’s a dazzling performance – a far cry from Jack Nicholson’s camp trickster in Tim Burton’s Batman.

However, he is not the film’s most intriguing or affecting villain. That honour belongs to Aaron Eckhart as the fatally flawed District Attorney Harvey Dent, whose metamorphosis into vengeful Two- Face is riveting.

Nolan builds on the solid framework of Batman Begins to deliver even more eye-popping action sequences, including a high-speed chase on the Bat-Pod through Gotham, which reaches a crescendo with an 18- wheeler flipping end over end.

The director shot many of these set pieces with IMAX cameras – a first for a major feature film – and on the gargantuan canvas of these special cinemas, The Dark Knight leaves you breathless.

Having vanquished The Scarecrow, millionaire Bruce Wayne continues his crusade against crime aided by Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, who is romantically involved with old flame Rachel Dawes.

Crime figures soar when deranged criminal mastermind the Joker declares war on the man in the cowl.

As the people of Gotham turn against their saviour, Bruce relies on loyal butler Alfred and Wayne Enterprises technical genius Lucius Fox to stop him falling into the abyss.

(c) 2008 Herald Express (Torquay UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.