Heath Rocks the Screen

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hide captionHeath Ledger as the Joker. Wonder what other cards he has up his sleeve...

Source: NiJoKeR

I stood in line with my cousins for 3 hours this weekend to get perfect seats for The Dark Knight. I almost didn't go to see it — I found myself tearing up every time I saw Heath's face in one of the trailers, so I didn't think I'd be able to get through all 150 minutes without completely loosing it to a waterfall of snot and tears — his untimely death still gets to me. But I'm glad I decided to brave it in the end. His performance as the Joker was INCREDIBLE. That doesn't even do it justice. Let me put it another way — it was UN. BE. LIV. ABLE. Utterly A. MA. ZING. Downright PHE. NOM... well, you get the idea. He was a total scene stealer — Christian Bale, who, wha? Even the special effects took a back seat to Heath's chaotic antics, eerie smirk, and spine-shivering (am I inventing adjectives?) laugh. There's passionate debate among my friends over whether Heath deserves an Oscar nomination, and what his chances are of winning posthumously. I think he absolutely deserves a nod for Best Supporting Actor. The physical manifestations of his character — the precision with which he cultivated those disjointed, almost burlesque mannerisms — should be studied in acting classes. He had a rhythmic, sway-like walk, and I've never seen anyone lick their lips to such great effect. His representation of the Joker will, in my humble opinion, go down as one of the most iconic villains ever to grace (or terrorize, in this case) the screen — much like Johnny's iconic hero, Jack Sparrow. At the very least, we'll see a lot of Heath-as-Jokers this Halloween.

Today, we talk to Washington Post writer Hank Steuver, who says the Joker is more interesting than the Dark Knight himself. I completely agree. So, what, if anything, do you find appealing about the Joker character in general, and this Joker in particular? And do you think Heath's performance deserves an Oscar?



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I haven't seen the movie, so of course I can't comment on the performance. But it does seem inevitable that people's judgement will be colored by the fact of Ledger's death. The performance may be every bit as powerful as everyone is saying; or it may be that it's a good performance made great by the knowledge that it was his last.

Sent by janet | 3:02 PM | 7-21-2008

If you read the comics, The Joker is by far one of the most sadistic and violent of comic book characters in the history of comics. Take for instance Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke". The Joker shoots Commissioner Gordons daughter, strips her and takes inappropriate pictures of her just to show the commissioner after he kidnaps him and holds him prisoner in an abandoned carnival. I haven't seen "The Dark Knight" yet but I can reassure you no matter how good Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker is, a fan of the comic and the genre REALLY know what The Joker can do.

Sent by Junior Zuniga | 3:07 PM | 7-21-2008

To put it simply the Joker is in all Batman comics and movies Batman's main villain. It is put quite correctly in the movie that the relationship is that of what happens when an unstopping force meets an immovable object. The Batman can never kill the joker because of his morals, and the joker can't kill the batman because he needs a rival. They are the perfect relationship when it comes to Villain vs Hero.

Sent by John Porter | 3:46 PM | 7-21-2008

Did you find the Joker more compelling than Batman himself? NO!! That was a discussion after the movie about the Joker's STRONG Anarchist stance. And bled into what is going on in Denver this August and trying to understand those that would so strongly support Anarchy. It really brought out to me the terrible idea of Anarchy. Heath did make the character believable.

Sent by Richard Gonzales | 3:47 PM | 7-21-2008

This joker is more Charles Manson, jim Jones like and I think cable tv and specials have primed us for someone who parallels "real" evil.

Sent by Trent from Portland | 3:55 PM | 7-21-2008

I think the creepiest thing about this Joker, was the fact that he told three different reasons for being the way he is. He just has all kinds of reasons for doing things but there is no way of know what is real.

Sent by Greg Brewer | 3:56 PM | 7-21-2008

I saw the movie and thought it excellent, what worried me, however, was the large number of children well under the age of 13. Surely, those parents were up during the night calming "dark-knight mares".

Sent by Virginia Oldham | 3:58 PM | 7-21-2008

Heroes, especially in the DC Universe, are defined by their "rogues gallery". Without Lex Luthor Superman is a boring "goody two-shoe." The Joker gives Batman a reason to continue existing that goes beyond the death of his parents.

Sent by Germaine Smith | 3:59 PM | 7-21-2008

Well, Satan is considered by many critics to be more interesting in Milton's "Paradise Lost". Perhaps we just enjoy observation of actions we ourselves would never be guilty of doing.

Sent by Ginnie O. | 4:10 PM | 7-21-2008

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