The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

joker’s first meeting with gambol is so full and rich; nolan, of course, completely fails to pick up on it. joker wears a purple suit with long tousled hair, lipstick applied haphazardly and unfamiliarly, a voice disguised with theatrics but especially with higher pitch. gambol calls joker a freak; joker looks genuinely caught off-guard and upset, stumbles wording, repeats ‘a guy like me’ with lowered vocal pitch so as not to come on too strong, throws around accusations of castration so as to (how to say) blend in with the boys while retaining some kind of distance. but even more obvious is the hospital scene, when joker’s disguised in a vintage nurse’s outfit, complete with wig. joker sits down with dent, takes off the wig, and immediately makes sure the real hair underneath isn’t all bunched up but is instead hanging long and free. is it any wonder that she thinks batman’s hypermasculinity is repression and overcompensation, and hence pleads with him, personally, from the heart, for community in what she hopes against hope is their shared oppression?

‘i don’t want to kill you; what would i do without you?! no, no, no, no, you… you complete me. […] don’t talk like one of them. you’re not. even if you’d like to be. to them, you’re just a freak… like me. they need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out like a leper.’

but there’s no-one in this fascist hellscape of a city with whom she can find community, and she giggles in helpless resignation even as her potential ally turns on her: ‘you have nothing, nothing to hurt me with, with all your strength.’ sadly, the film’s content to leave her fleshed out about as badly as the standard psycho-of-the-lambs serial killer, just with distorted anarchist twists, and this magnificent character gets nowhere near what she deserves, just half an ideology in a film that cannot pace itself one bit. in my head she survives being locked up in the wrong prison and eventually rides off into the sunset with bane and then they are super kind to each other for the rest of their lives.

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