The Dark Knight – Feast For Eyes AND Ears
The Dark Knight, the second installment of Christopher Nolan’s new Batman series, is not only a visual feast, with eye-popping action sequences and gorgeous cinematography, but is an absolute treat for the ears.
Sound design in super-hero movies is often stellar, but The Dark Knight is above and beyond anything that has come before it, and is one reason why this movie is enjoying unprecedented Box Office returns. (Batman is the first film to hit $300 million at the box office in just 10 days –Ed.) One reason that the sound design stands out is that Nolan has scaled back the amount of background music in this installment of Batman for a more palatable realism. Instead of overblown music swells during dramatic moments, Nolan and James Newton Howard decided to use slow-building, grinding, virtual analog filter sweeps to create serious tension.
The reduction of grandiose background music also allows the sound effects to leap out of the screen and smack you in the forehead. (It’s mandatory to see this film in a proper surround sound theater, or IMAX, if available. –Ed.) Richard King, the film’s sound designer, certainly rose to the occasion and has delivered a tasty blend of hard hits, explosions and environmental details that leave the audience literally out of breath. Oscar-worthy work without a doubt.
Although Heath Ledger has gotten most of the focus for his deliciously demented role as The Joker, it’s Christopher Nolan who deserves all the praise and should receive an Oscar nomination for his outstanding work. Nolan seamlessly helms the directing, acting, special effects, sound and story with such savvy craft that the viewer doesn’t even realize how well everything is working in concert – until, of course, they wonder why the film has haunted them for days…