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Some Ramblings - The Dark Knight
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla
the dark knight

There are plenty of reasons to be angry, frustrated and vexed with this world - well, with its people, precisely. Selfishness, unjust natures, apathy, hypocrisy, brutality, ruthlessness - all these towards each other - one does only have to scratch the surface, and not even dig deep, to reveal the ghastly makeup and composition of this social being. Indeed, man is the only creature, among the living order of beings, that is constantly at war with its own species, reasserting its position, its dominance, for validating its existence. Limitless consumption, insatiable appetite, and constant craving - all these at the expense of his fellow beings. Man greed and gluttony are glorified as struggle for existence and survival of the fittest and hailed and celebrated as virtues necessary for his sustenance. Though man has taken large evolutionary strides and moved away from his animal ancestors, in terms of his physical appearance and mental faculties, he could not completely shake off the raw animal instinct, that rears its ugly head, whenever he either feels threatened in his own habitat or when he has to assert his presence in someone else's. Whoever said, man is a social animal, couldn't have gotten it any better. Good and evil, man's primary behaviors, are really not two extremes, standing on the far ends of the scale, one at negative infinity and the other at positive. They are in fact closer than that, a lot closer, divided only by a thin line that separates man from a beast. Show all the strength and courage to stand bravely on the teetering edge of a great abyss - the person is hailed as a saint. And the ones who become weak at the knees and can't store into the abyss without throwing themselves into it, by definition, are termed as bad, evil and in some cases, even insane.

"Dark Knight" is all about that thin fine line and about the people who make their choices as to which side they willingly stand on. Terming this movie as yet another super hero comic book movie, is like calling Romeo and Juliet as just another run of the mill teenage love story. The comic book setting is just a platform from where it rises much higher, aspiring and even reaching to greater heights, thematically, and importantly, philosophically. Here, evil does not merely fight with good. In fact, it taunts it, it lures it, it even appeals to its good senses (notwithstanding the irony), so much so that the evil holds up a mirror to the society arguing with the good, to give it a valid reason, as to why the world, with all its inequities, irregularities and injustices, need to be saved. And the good's reply? Just because, of the irregularities and injustices. A very compelling arguing, that, when both sides have equally strong cases, and their motivations, equally justified. Evil even goes one step further. It argues that it is a necessary evil (pun intended). While goodness is just a random trait, a mutation, evil is natural, organic and instinctive. And here is where the scripts rises to sheer brilliance. It places the forces the good and evil at so close a distance, that, from afar, both of them seem to blend into one another. Batman is a social vigilante, dispensing justice as he chooses fit. But in the scenario where the society he serves deems that the collateral is just too great in battling evil, and wishes him go away, but instead, he chooses to stay put inadvertently putting it in harm's way, how does the society differentiate between the good, which is costing it, and the evil, which is taxing it?

Consider the unmistakable parallel to the present day political scenario in the war torn Iraq. Does the presence of US troops weigh on the credit side or the debit side in the final balance sheet? If the evil dictator before, who held the country in a vice grip, contributed to the decay of the country, what good and how better are the US troops, if the same society continues to bleed and continues to be held at ransom because of its very presence? In effect, what is the price of good, in the face of evil? The script needs to be soundly applauded for raising questions on the moral dilemmas and ethical behaviors that guide and shape the nature of man, and in doing so, join the ranks of great movies like 'A Clockwork Orange', 'Apocalypse Now' and even the recent 'No Country for old men', that tried to unearth the hidden facets of human nature. While the above concentrated on the nature of evil, "Dark Knight" tries to evaluate the costs of sticking with good. Perhaps, the society may not immediately realize the value of its sacrifices, and the price of its collateral. But when things finally settle down, it is only the forces of good, standing amid the ruins, willing to pick up the pieces and put them together along with the society, with the alluring evil nowhere to be seen. And that's what, the Dark Knight assures, the society could count on.

More Ramblings on films
Wall - E
The incredible Hulk
Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve

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This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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