Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Dark Knight: Banned in China?

My local paper reported today that Warner Bros. would not be releasing its most popular film of the year in one of the world's biggest markets out of concern that a scene in which Batman invades Hong Kong to extradite a Chinese mob banker would offend Chinese cultural sensibilities. This is another account of the studio's decision. If you think about it, this story exposes what might be considered a plot hole in Christopher Nolan's film: why didn't the Chinese protest the kidnapping of one of their citizens or compel his release from Gotham City custody? The answer, of course, is that The Dark Knight operates according to a certain kind of movie logic, whereby things happen or don't happen based on a desired audience response. This isn't a knock on a movie that I'd rank among the best of 2008, but it's something that becomes more apparent on subsequent viewings. I just watched it for the second time this week, since someone was thoughtful enough to buy me the DVD for Christmas. I reviewed it on my primary blog after my first viewing, but I intend to post a reappraisal here in the next few days.

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