Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Star Ledger

Betty and Bimbo got walloped by "The Dark Knight" in Queens last night after taking in some of the most unique and tasty Thai food in the United States! As we recover from both happy shake-ups to our systems, we feel compelled to say just one thing for the record.

Heath Ledger did NOT go crazy by getting "too into the role of the Joker" as Jack Nicholson and others have implied or just stated with a grave and attention-grabbing pomposity.

Don't get us wrong: Ledger is fully awesome in the movie! He's working at full strength, kicking his gifts into high gear, performing at a fever pitch and letting his character bask in the near-nihilistic fun of action movies, synthesizing his talents with the script to give us a gasp-making performance that is the definition of entertainment.

You want him to be on the screen all the time, moving and jittering his limbs and swooping in like an overgrown imp and smacking his drooly lips and intoning the script's best lines in a voice that makes him sound like a demented Al Franken. His greasy green-tinted post-pool curly hair and smeared make-up is the creation of a genius (costume designer, please step up!) and his long coat and tight suit look like they've never been washed or taken off, and hide tightly-wound wounds and smelly chaos. And you gotta see him in a Nurse Betty get-up! He's a live wire, and totally scary and attractive at all times.

This is just to say that all of this thoughtful detail that makes a character who is an atmosphere unto himself is part of a great movie performance - Ledger balancing and deploying many new and old tools to drive us - the audience! -crazy. He is wildly successful, which is a testament to his imagination, his skill, and his sanity.

Like, duh.


x_miaatcttl_x said...

actually, the joker role for heath ledger brought back a lot of things he had been suffering for a while.
he struggled with depression for years before doing this movie, and the role sent him back into all that.
i have seen the movie, and i thought he was phenomenal. he died on a good note, his last character his strongest. but although his interpretation of the joker was perfect, it DID contribute to his untimely death.

Betty and Bimbo said...

I must respectfully disagree with you, based on the huge transformative talent Ledger has shown in every movie he's been in, and interviews you can watch with him after he finished making the movie, which show him to be completely sane and to have a sense of humor and a smile about the part.

Wasn't "Brokeback Mountain" more depressing than the Joker anyway? The Joker is terrifying and flamboyant and kinetic and fun. Ledger says it was the most fun he ever had on a movie set. Brokeback Mountain is about secrets and longing and regret and dashed dreams.

After seeing and loving "The Dark Knight" I am more convinced than ever that Ledger's death was an accident, and I am sad in a thousand new ways. I do not think that suicide is something shameful and I have no interest in arguing against claims that Ledger took his own life for moral reasons or anything like that. Rather, I think any argument that "he got too into the role of the Joker and that's what killed him" both flatters the ego of the armchair theorist and debases Ledger's talent, and I won't stand for that.

Betty and Bimbo said...

The summary version of what I wrote above is that art and life do not overlaps as neatly into each other as we would like.

Betty and Bimbo said...

OVERLAP, I mean.