It was with immensely high expectations that I entered the BFI IMAX this evening to watch six minutes of footage from The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his 3-part Batman series. Although I wasn’t certain that Nolan could really top The Dark Knight, what I did know was that in the course of his career the London-born director has arguably made not one bad film. That’s right, from the independent Following to the most recent of his dizzying offerings, Inception, Nolan has always maintained a love for his craft and a particular aptitude for great storytelling. I loved The Dark Knight and I loved watching it in IMAX. Yet these high hopes contrasted heavily with a niggling sense of doubt that I had stored deep inside my frenetic brain. I had read a number of articles about the prologue of the upcoming film itself and the main topic of conversation was not the director’s spectacular helicopter shots or IMAX cameras. It was all to do with the voice of the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane.
After premiering in America before it came over to British shores, the prologue of the film left a burdening question in the mind of critics and audiences alike – what on earth is Bane saying? His dialogue almost in its entirety consisting of mumbling and unintelligible noises. The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin stated:
“Throughout the sequence, Bane makes clear the details of his nefarious plot – or, rather, he would have done if he didn’t sound like he was chewing on a pair of socks at the same time. Amid all the spluttering, I just about caught that it involves a “Dr Pawel” and something to do with blood.”
Elsewhere, The Guardian’s Ben Child compared it with Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, where allegedly “[in US cinemas it] was screened with subtitles because the locals could not make head nor tale of it. Nolan might have to consider employing the same method whenever Bane says something in The Dark Knight Rises, because it’s the only way we’re going to be able to understand what he’s on about.”
In response to the question of whether Bane would be understood in the theatrical cut of The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan replied: “Probably not. He has the mask on, the apparatus, and he has the accent.” Despite the critical backlash, I think Nolan knows what he’s doing. It’s unlikely that he would get something seriously wrong while in control of the film and will definitely have taken this into account. The gap I must fill in for all those who are worried about Bane and his voice is that the whole scene takes place on a plane. No wonder he’s difficult to understand – you’ve got the noises of the engine and the wind flying past: add that to the muffling of his mask and it’s pretty much explained. Thankfully, the whole film isn’t Flightplan or Red Eye so Bane should hopefully be a little more understandable in later parts of the movie. I personally thought that they did the suction noises and voice distortion of Bane very well – I just think he needs much more exposure perhaps in a trailer or something like that.
That’s been the main source of topic for a number of bloggers and that has been mine. But let’s get down to the prologue itself. It’s exceedingly well-shot with IMAX cameras that capture the action spectacularly (and NOT IN 3D!!!) as Bane performs an ambitious and quite incredible plane stunt that will have audiences everywhere gasping in their seats. It would be terrible to spoil exactly what happens, but if you don’t get out much or don’t have many friends you could always click on this link: http://www.metro.co.uk/film/884867-the-dark-knight-rises-prologue-bane-dominates-but-you-cant-hear-him.
Security was predictably tight and I was unable to take a picture of the hundreds of fans who had turned up for the special screening but I can say that I was thoroughly impressed with what I saw and eagerly anticipate the release of the film in the summer of 2012. Nolan has the potential to outdo himself; whether next year’s much-anticipated finale will top The Dark Knight is something that will have to wait; a painful and long few months, but we must be patient. Bane still has to be sorted out! But thank you anyway, Mr. Nolan, for whetting our appetites with this quite brilliant scene.