Knight moves | Bleader

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Knight moves

Posted By on 08.06.08 at 07:05 PM

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The Dark Knight runs along literally like a series of disconnected cabaret acts, with what passes for narrative happening off-screen most of the time, and the ample screentime remaining filled up with chases and fights so haphazardly shot and cut you can't tell where anybody is or what's going on. —Michael Atkinson at Zero for Conduct

Which sounds like the movie I saw too. In fact—and consider this a sacrilege if you want—there's not a lot of difference between Dark Knight and Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted as violent genre excuses for cluttering up Chicago's downtown streets. Except Wanted gets better kinetic mileage out of its under-the-el-tracks setups ... and shooting along a seedier stretch of Lake Street helps too, since Christopher Nolan's blanded-out version of metropolis—Upper and Lower Wacker, Navy Pier, LaSalle Street, the riverfront curtain wall—is pretty much what you'd expect in a typical Gray Line tour. Just the usual showplace suspects, to keep the out-of-towners pacified ...

But if the Lake Street underbelly's now the semiofficial benchmark for seedy Chicago shooting, then arguably Walter Hill's Streets of Fire (1984) is still the reigning genre champ. Except he had to paint over the whole street to make it seem more "authentic," or at least like a rock 'n' roll stage set in some down-and-out gangbanger musical. Still, better Orwellian ersatz than Nolan upchucking his Frommer's guide. Or to steal a line from Tom Hanks in the immortal Joe Versus the Volcano: "It's fake—I like it!"

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