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Nolan's 'Dark Knight Rises' dons an Occupy costume [Trailer]

December 20, 2011 |  6:31 am


Still photo from the next Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises"

We already knew Christopher Nolan was up to something topical with “The Dark Knight Rises” when he decided to shoot near Occupy Wall Street. Now we have a clearer sense of what that topic is.

As the Batman film's new trailer released online Monday suggests, it’s economic disparity and government response to organized protest, among other subjects.

Over a haunting rendition of a child singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" (lest there be any doubt about his national themes), Nolan offers us a peek at his haves-and-have-nots preoccupation when he has Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle whisper in the ear of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne a message from the 99%.

“You think this can last?" she says. "There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. And you and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

The ante is upped with a quick shot of a tank taking aim at what appears to be a group people (protesters?) congregating on a City Hall-like building -- an image, incidentally, that also evokes the Arab Spring.

And if its patriotic themes weren’t evident enough, the big act of villainous violence happens at a football game — and as a kick returner is speeding to the end zone, no less. (Thomas Hardy, wearing a gas-mask, of course does villain honors as Bane, setting off explosions-cum-earthquakes behind the player.)

Nolan cut to the issues of the day with “The Dark Knight” in 2008, posing questions about the appropriate responses to terrorism and the nature of heroism in a post-Sept. 11 world. Here he swivels his gaze.

Not a lot of filmmakers would attempt to roll together Occupy, Egypt and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in one cinematic package, let alone in one with superheroes. But Nolan is, as ever, thinking big, with his typical blend of flash and seriousness. 

The movie opens July 20, with footage currently showing before some screenings of "Mission: Impossible."


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-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "The Dark Knight Rises." Credit: Warner Bros.