Gotham Sans

[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.

(Earlier on BLDGBLOG: Dream-Sector Physics and Inception Space and Shining Path).

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7 Comments:

Blogger Zubin Pastakia said...

Constantly have to face this response when I show people images from my projects. The assumption always is: no people in frame = “empty”.

July 14, 2011 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

film critics are useless and offer no real insight.

July 14, 2011 7:31 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Not only unfair, but ridiculous. Firstly, the poster may have been approved or even suggested by Nolan, but he didn't make it. Probably whoever did make it hasn't even seen any part of the film or script.

Secondly, this is a teaser poster. As I recall, The Dark Knight had two teaser posters, and then something like seven official posters, not to mention the countless fan posters.

One tiny piece of marketing can tell us essentially nothing about the final product being advertised, especially when that product is a piece of storytelling from one of the most-compelling mainstream film-makers of our time,

July 14, 2011 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the glowing unicorn rising out of Gotham's ashes.

July 14, 2011 6:29 PM  
Blogger Leif said...

There are so many logical fallacies in Owen's argument and on top of that he' hiding behind the antiquated mask of objectivity that movie critics pretend to have. I guess he's gotta feed his family somehow

July 14, 2011 10:02 PM  
Blogger Salvatore D'Agostino said...

Geoff Manaugh,
about empty city reminds me an old picture that
Regards,
Salvatore D'Agostino

July 15, 2011 1:59 PM  
Blogger ethan timm said...

don't judge a book by its cover!

July 15, 2011 5:56 PM  

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