I have just rediscovered Tim Hawkins on YouTube. If you have not heard of him, you have a treat in store for you. He’s a Christian comedian and, I believe, a homeschooler – and I can hardly describe his hilarity. Here is a personal favorite (Hey There Delilah is good too):
One movie no one would expect me to love, if they didn’t generally know that I love it, might be The Dark Knight. Some people seem to get the impression that I only like things that… well, I guess squeaky clean would be a good phrase. I think only one of my friends knows that I used to be a huge fan of hard rock (note the past tense – I don’t listen to it anymore). I have a definite liking for darkness and tragedy which surprises some people. It actually doesn’t make that much sense, if you think about it. No one is surprised when I and people like me love The Lord of the Rings, which is, in many ways, a sad and tragic book.
Now, it is also imbued with the Christian sense that there is a Purpose to things and a meaning behind events – it doesn’t dally with nihilism in the way that you could say The Dark Knight does (I would disagree, but you could make out a case). However, that doesn’t change the fact that it does not have a conventionally happy ending. Tolkien makes it very clear in his letters that Frodo failed. Nor are they terribly shocked when someone says they enjoyed Dante’s Inferno (which, by the way, should never be read without following up with the Purgatorio and the Paradiso), which is about the ultimate tragedy, for heaven’s sakes.
The Dark Knight is, of course, in a different category. It’s less violent than the Inferno, in which one may obtain graphic descriptions of human internal organs pouring out of them, but of course violence in a book is completely different than violence in a movie, and I would say TDK is violent enough to earn a hard PG-13 rating. It’s not graphic and not very bloody, either, but there’s a lot of nasty things that are more implied than seen, not to mention the “pencil trick” and a certain character’s disfigurement. In addition, it takes the Lord’s name in vain and uses other bad language.
However, the greatest distinguishing factor, in my opinion, is the portrayal of the antimorality of the Joker. He isn’t just immoral. He hates morality. He enjoys chaos. He isn’t like most people, committing evil to get some perceived good (whether that be a real good or not). Instead, he sees the chaos and horror as an end in itself. It’s truly disturbing.