Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Now THAT Is How You Play A Villain

Clint and I went to see The Dark Knight the day before I left for San Francisco. I was both excited and nervous to see it. With all the hype, the ticket sales, the gushing reviews over Heath Ledger's performance, I was worried the movie wouldn't hold up.

Plus, it's 2 1/2 hours. A movie has to be truly incredible to hold my interest for 2 1/2 hours.

The movie opened and I leaned forward, watching intently. Waiting for the fantastic. The amazing. The absolutely magical to happen.

It did.

From the moment Heath Ledger walked into the room and performed the disappearing pencil trick, he had me in the palm of his hand. Disturbing. Haunting. Mesmerizing. He stole every scene he entered. I couldn't look away. I searched his eyes for something false, something to hint at the man who won my heart in A Knight's Tale and it was gone, submerged beneath madness, viciousness, and careless disregard for everyone, including himself.

Heath Ledger became the Joker and I became a believer.

I knew the movie was 2 1/2 hours and I started worrying that it would end. I wanted more. I still do. I want to go see it again just to soak in the nuances I missed the first time around. The other actors around him did a fine job but honestly, I didn't care. I barely saw them. I only had eyes for the Joker.

He was insane, logical, cruel, manipulative, charming in a terrifyingly predatory way. He was everything a villain should be. The kind who stays with you for days afterwards.

I adore a well-done villain and I have to say, Heath Ledger's Joker is one of the best I've ever seen. Ever. He captivated me, seduced me, and scared me more than Voldemort and Hannibal Lecter combined. He was unquestionably brilliant-worth every word of "hype" written and then some.

I had difficulty sleeping afterwards. I was both disturbed and inspired. I still am. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to bring the Joker under my skin, let him settle into my brain, and then transform myself into him for the camera. No wonder Heath needed sleeping pills. I almost needed them myself just from watching his performance.

Incredible. If Heath doesn't win an Oscar for this, I say we introduce a little anarchy ourselves.

I can't wait to go see it again.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I did detect an undertone of joy coming through from the actor-- as if I could sense Ledger under there somewhere saying, "This is just SO much fun!" What a loss we've suffered. The proverbial They says he's a front-runner for an Oscar. I'd like to think that would be so even if he had not met his tragic end. What a talent!

    I'm especially excited because now I get to play a villain! (Just got cast last night.) Let me tell you this-- for whatever reason, I find diving into a villainous character easier than finding my way under a straight character's skin. Jeez. What does THAT say about me?!?!

  2. I guess I better go jump on the Joker train...

  3. Michael Caine's first scene shot with Ledger in Joker make-up--the man forgot his lines. What does THAT say about Ledger's performance?

    I completely agree with you on this! He had me when I saw the first trailer, and after watching the film, I can't imagine anyone else ever playing this role. He deserves the Oscar!

  4. Danielle - Congrats on getting cast as a villainous character. What a fun part to play! And yes, Heath's incredible talent and love of acting transferred themselves to the screen. I went and saw it again and picked up other nuances I'd missed the first time. Incredible.

    Peter - You won't be disappointed. =)

    Jinx - I didn't know that about Michael Caine. I can see it happening, though.


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