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Here's how classic English literature figures into The Dark Knight Rises

07.09.2012

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And now for something completely different: the literary background of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  This information works on several levels - 1) it's just cool and interesting to know and will possibly enhance your viewing experience, 2) you now have an interesting and unexpected piece of knowledge to share with those still skeptical about Nolan/Batman/Superheroes, and 3) you can now pretend to have some sort of genius insight when walking out of the theater and thereby impress all of your friends. 

This may be considered a spoiler if you've seriously studied the book listed below, because there's a slight hint from Nolan that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is doing more than just following the book's tone.  I may be wrong, and I'm happy to be so, but just to be safe I thought I'd mention something.

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That all being said, here's what Christopher Nolan himself had to say regarding the strong influence of one Mr. Charles Dickens on his third and final entry in Batman's story: "When Jonah [brother Jonathan Nolan] showed me his first draft of his screenplay, it was 400 pages long or something.  It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, 'You've got to think of 'A Tale of Two Cities' which, of course, you've read.' I said, 'Absolutely.' I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I'd never read 'A Tale of Two Cities'. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about... When I did my draft on the script, it was all about 'A Tale of Two Cities'."

"It just felt exactly the right thing for the world we were dealing with.  What Dickens does in that book in terms of having all his characters come together in one unified story with all these thematic elements and all this great emotionalism and drama, it was exactly the tone we were looking for."

As for some of Jonathan Nolan's own thoughts on the whole matter: "Chris and David started developing the story in 2008 right after the second film came out.  Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration... What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. 'A Tale of Two Cities' was, to me, one of the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It's hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong."

So there you have it.  Epic Literature Time, Nolan's Batman Edition.  Smart.

Extra Tidbit: To be fair, I'm sure there's some Shakespeare in there as well somewhere. There's Shakespeare just about everywhere really. Supposedly Ben Kingsley finds a Shakespeare equivalent for whatever part he is playing and then studies that play in order to prepare for the role.
Source: Coming Soon

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