The Dark Knight Rises: A Mix Between Marx’s Wet Dream and Orwellian Aftermath

By webadmin on 07:53 am Jul 25, 2012
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Pangeran Siahaan

I don’t usually write about films – there’s a lot of more competent ink-slingers on the subject – but i just couldn’t keep my fingers from the keyboards as my mind whirled in harmony since I watched “The Dark Knight Rises” recently. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman is certainly one of the best superhero films ever made, but never a motion picture caused a deep after-thought like this one.

You might have read the plot elsewhere or watched the film yourself and you might as well realized that “The Dark Knight Rises” could be the most political film in recent years. It successfully captured all the latest political struggles and class clashes in the world, and Nolan shoehorns all the details into the movie that divides opinion between the left and the right.

Nolan has said the film was not intended to be political, but in the end it’s how the audience perceives the film that matters. It’s very hard not to think about the Occupy Movement when Bane and his lawless troops took over the Gotham Stock Exchange and said he would liberate the city. I believe that it’s not coincidental that Bane targeted the Stock Exchange as his first target operation because he saw it as a symbol of oppression.

Bane, a super villain and rebel leader whose voice sounds like Sean Connery reading drama script on the phone, claimed himself as a liberator of the people and asked the citizens to seize the city that should belong to them, not to the exclusive rich minority. The battle against the riches and the haves is the general theme of the film, and the character Bane epitomizes the reluctance to bow down to the ones with more money. It’s nicely summed up in one scene when Bane exchanging words with the the corporate charlatan, John Dagget.

Dagget: I’m the one in charge here!
Bane: Do you feel in charge?
….
Dagget: I’ve given you a small fortune!
Bane: And you think this gives you power over me?

Those lines are some kind of great comebacks the so-called 99% would love to utter against their tormentors, something that Slavoj Zizek would love to whisper into the ears of a random billionaire after he gatecrashes a grand dinner banquet. The character of Selina Kyle also warned billionaire Bruce Wayne about some sort of storm that was coming and questioned him whether he really thinks that his lavish lifestyle would last forever.

What Kyle said was no different that the prophecy of Karl Marx in “Communist Manifesto” when the bearded philosopher wrote about the gravediggers who were born out of the bourgeois and would put the riches on the top of pyramid sink into the bottom of their own graves. The storm that swept Gotham City did come; led by Bane and his army of gravediggers when he took the city and inverted the structure of society. The riches were no more as the city seized by the people’s liberators. There’s one scene where the ordinary Joes and Janes took a property that used to belong to the riches. Some details in “The Dark Knight Rises” were plain Marx’s wet dream.

Nolan admitted that “The Dark Knight Rises” was so much inspired by Charles Dickens’s “Tale of Two Cities,” and the Blackgate prison storm was a modern re-enactment of the Storming of Bastille Prison. Bane didn’t turn out to be the Lafayette of Gotham, instead he sanctioned trial by the people which force the guilty bourgeois to choose the verdict between exile and death. Bane instructed to hang all the dissidents in public and it’s another modern interpretation of Reign of Terror with the masked terrorist in the position of Robespierre.

What was started and perceived as a people’s movement turned out to be a totalitarian regime. Gotham City was in an Orwellian state after Bane and his army claimed to act on behalf of the people and punish whoever takes side against them. Bane called himself “a necessary evil” in contrary to “pure evil,” giving impression that liberty and equality have to be done by any means necessary.

Some political commentators said “The Dark Knight Rises’,” pendulum really swings towards the conservative agenda because it portrays democracy in its rawest and worst form. In a way, “The Dark Knight Rises” is like a bad advert for the Occupy Movement around the world. The people’s trial scenes illustrated the tyranny of majority and showed what could have happened if power and authority were given unto the hands of those who are not ready. Nolan might have said the truth when he said he didn’t have any political motive, but some scenes in “The Dark Knight Rises” really entertained the idea that beforehand Nolan received a message that reads: “Hi, take our money and make them look bad. Sincerely, the 1%.”

Maybe “The Dark Knight Rises” should only be watched as a typical comic-based superhero movie where the caped crusader saves the city in distress from the bad guy, and that’s it. Maybe the only after-thought one should have had is whether there’s going to be a Catwoman spin-off or another Batman sequel with Robin in it. But Nolan’s brilliantly-produced epic finale leaves too much space for interpretation. You’ll be forgiven even if you take the analysis a step too far.