[Image: The Dark Knight Rises, courtesy of Warner Brothers].
Paul Owen of the Guardian today attempts a thorough critique of director Christopher Nolan’s most recent films, by way of nothing more than the new poster for The Dark Knight Rises, due out in summer 2012.
The poster presents us with “an empty city totally devoid of people,” Owen writes, which suggests to him a film that will be at once “claustrophobic, joyless, and derivative”—and he adds the third term as if in delayed realization that the first two, despite themselves, can often frame a compelling drama (many morality tales are precisely claustrophobic and joyless, which is where their effective power lies). But, in this way of thinking, the poster’s highly architectural glimpse of a “city literally falling to pieces,” as Owen describes it, is indication that the film itself will also shudder and fail under Nolan’s unfounded narrative ambitions, as if depopulated streets accidentally reveal the director’s inability to portray human complexity.
Is Owen right to deduce from a single piece of visual art the internal collapse of a film whose release is still more than one year away? And does this foreshortened view of a ruined metropolis—”an empty city totally devoid of people” with “rubble crumbling from the roofs”—rightly imply a story equally vacated of human interest?
Either way, it’s nice to see a short piece of virtuoso art interpretation, inspired by an image of buildings.