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The Dark Knight
July 18, 2008
PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman,
Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman
Recommended age: 16+
Overall PTC Traffic Light Rating: Red
Kissing, brief implied sex
Death depicted, murder, guns, knives, threats, explosions,
terrorism, torture, beatings, car chases and crashes
“Godd***,” “Jesus,” “ass,” “damn,” “hell”
Torture performed by hero
Batman returns in
The Dark Knight, a film demonstrating the moral compromises that heroes
(and movies about heroes) make in today’s world. When Batman, Police
Commissioner Gordon and “White Knight” District Attorney Harvey Dent bring down
all of Gotham City’s crime kingpins, the mob bosses hire the psychotic Joker to
eliminate Batman. The Joker kills numerous Gotham citizens and threatens to
continue unless Batman reveals his identity and turns himself in to the police.
Batman agrees, but Dent refuses to allow Gotham to lose its defender. But when
the Joker captures Batman’s girlfriend and turns Dent into the villainous
Two-Face, Batman shows him the true meaning of revenge…
Extreme violence is
rampant in The Dark Knight. The movie opens with a bank robbery by the
Joker’s henchmen – each one of whom has been ordered to brutally murder another,
until only the Joker remains. The Joker consistently terrifies hostages with a
knife: he holds it to their faces or eyes or places it in their mouths and
threatens to disfigure their faces; impales one man’s face on a pencil; and plants a bomb in the stomach of one of his henchmen and
sets it off. Batman’s battles with criminals alternate
between extremely explicit beatings delivered by Batman, and Batman’s use of
gadgetry, often including high explosives. Criminals, police and bystanders are
sometimes injured or killed in these battles. The Joker murders various
individuals and burns off half of Dent’s face; the grisly wounds exposing Dent’s
eyeball and parts of his skull are repeatedly shown. The Joker’s terrorist
schemes also include poisoning, crushing and burning individuals and blowing up
hospitals. This is in addition to typical action-movie violence such as car
chases and crashes, gunfights, explosions and other general mayhem.
demonstrated by characters in the movie is also of concern. Far from being an
upbeat, optimistic “superhero” movie, The Dark Knight features a “hero”
nearly as dark as its villain. With Commissioner Gordon’s cooperation, Batman
beats the incarcerated Joker for information, and also drops another criminal
from a building, breaking his legs.
Compared to the
film’s dark overtones and extreme violence, other content in The Dark Knight
is of trifling concern. Sex is implied in one scene: Bruce Wayne enters a room
during a party, as a man and woman hastily and nervously adjust their clothing.
Bruce’s old flame Rachel exchanges kisses with both Bruce and Harvey. Profanity
used includes a few uses of “godd***” and “Jesus,” and frequent uses of “ass,”
“damn” and “hell.”
The Dark Knight
is aptly named, with the movie focusing on darkness, violence and revenge almost
to the exclusion of heroism. Because of its extremely dark overtones and
graphic violence, parents are strongly cautioned that The Dark Knight
is not recommended for viewers under age 16.
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