Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Ending a visit on a Batman Bang
I love visiting London. Here in Nottingham, as much as I appreciate the place, I can see its limitations. I know London has its own faults, but one of the ones oft-proclaimed that drives me to despair is that surrounding the transport system. True, I don't travel daily at peak times, but I am often around on week days, and frequently on Fridays and Mondays during at least one of the peak periods. And I have never found the buses and underground to be disappointing. Please remember people that outside London transport runs mostly every 10-15 minutes during PEAK PERIODS. I use public transport enough to know that it can be pretty crap, though our Nottingham tram system is largely darn good (however during university term time at peak times it is probably the closest that Nottingham gets demonstrations of tube-crushes).
Anyway. We pack our bag and leave this at reception carrying with us only those books we can't squeeze in the suitcase. We return to Bar Bruno and then go and enjoy the sun in Trafalgar Square.
We then dive into the Odeon Leciester Square for a big screen showing of The Dark Knight. I love the Odeon in Leicester Square, not just for its star-studded associations with premieres but for the space itself. The gorgeous Deco details.
The ads and trailers nearly killed us both off (do they have to be quite so crap?) but the film itself more than rewarded our efforts.
Yeah, it's clearly NOT a 12A certificate film (it's a 15, no doubt). But certificate issues aside this is wonderfully adult - whilst rooted firmly in the unreality of comic book heroes and villains - and thoroughly dark and dangerous. It is a bleak film, shot through with the scarred red-mouthed and compelling performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker. He glimmers and glowers throughout the narrative, endlessly reinventing his history to suit each conversation he has, playing with and against every expectation. It looks fabulous, the sound is fabulous, and Nolan provides a pacey continuation to his opening shot at the Batman story which makes best use of the cast and the budget available.
Does Ledger deserve an Academy nod for this role? Well, it's clearly not Brokeback Mountain which most agree is where he should have won. And it is what is known as a 'genre flick' (a label that makes me despair even as I know it is the industry parlance for such works). Will sentiment be enough to win a nomination? The performance is certainly worth consideration but it's a long time till January 2009 and given he died in time to be lauded at the last ceremony amongst the 'remembered dead' there's a possibility that memories won't carry that far. It's a shame because it really is a fabulous portrayal and one deserving of attention. Would we be saying this if he hadn't died? I'd like to think yes because it really is the dark soul of the movie.
After that we needed some air and a general meander to clear ourselves. Then it was back to Paradiso before heading to get our suitcase and sit and gaze at the glories of St Pancras.
And so it ended.