A Deep Look at the ‘Dark Knight’ Chase Scene

RogerEbert.com founding editor Jim Emerson does a long analysis of the Batman film’s exciting, but arguably incomprehensible, Lower Wacker pursuit sequence.

Via Coudal: movie critic, Sun-Times contributor, and RogerEbert.com founding editor Jim Emerson has a nearly 20-minute analysis of the big Lower Wacker chase scene from The Dark Knight. Warning: it’s extremely detailed and casual viewers might find his criticisms anal-retentive, and even with Emerson’s visual aids the spacial dimensions of the chase can be hard to follow. But that’s also why it’s a great analysis. Some of the criticism leveled at the otherwise well-received movie had to do with critics finding the action scenes incomprehensible, and Emerson explains the quick discontinuities that you might not notice but which still contribute to the difficulties of following this scene.

(But Emerson’s not out to just tear down the movie; as he points out, and I wholeheartedly agree, the best part about the chase scene is actually how the music drops out. While it might be a bit of a visual-editing mess, it’s a masterpiece of sound editing.)

In the Cut, Part I: Shots in the Dark (Knight) from Jim Emerson on Vimeo.

This is up there with one of my favorite Internet-video movie critiques of all time, Red Letter Media’s seven-part, hour-plus takedown of The Phantom Menace. It’s NSFW… and the humor is pretty juvenile… and it’s very self-indulgent… but it’s also brilliant. About 6:45 in, the narrator asks four people to “describe the following Star Wars character without saying what they look like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was…. The more descriptive they can get, the stronger the character, eh?” If you’ve seen Star Wars: A New Hope (Han Solo, Princess Leia) and The Phantom Menace (Qui-Gon Jinn, Princess Amidala), you’ll recognize it as a perfect storytelling exercise, one that absolutely gets to the heart of the problem with the prequels.

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