Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rizal was right...

... we don't need an uberpolitician or a Satria Piningit. We need a system that works. And when the system doesn't work, we may need... The Batman! Of course, to make the system works, we need something like KPK, or someone like Harvey Dent (before he turned into Two-Face).

Just like I enjoyed the recent heroic actions performed by KPK, I enjoyed watching The Dark Knight. It's a good sequel to Batman Begins. So far, the two films by Chris Nolan are better than the previous Burton-Schumacher series. And sorry, Superman and Spiderman, but if there is a 'Superhero Oscar' then I'd give the award to your fellow in that black suit.

But the highest credit must go to Heath Ledger. His last ever performance as The Joker really stole the show. May he rest in peace. Some people consider his acting was better than Jack Nicholson, who played the character in the Burton's 1989 version. I'd say, they both are tied. The difference being Nicholson was excelling alone in a somewhat weaker script, while almost everyone in The Dark Knight played well, especially Gary Oldman. He's really a brilliant actor, isn't he? Everytime he plays a character -- from Dracula, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirius Black, and now the uncorruptible Lt. Gordon, seems that he's turning into completely different persons.

The moral of the movie was simple: institutions matter. When formal institutions fail, informal institutions will rule (see Dani Rodrik's post on how Taliban solves property rights issues when the state failed to impose it). Then we end up in a 'bad' equilbrium: we need another informal institutions to solve the problems created. Things got more harder if we have someone like The Joker, who does crime just for the sake of doing it; whose means is also the objectives.

There were also two good quotes from the movie. First, "Helping means choosing," told The Joker. He was clearly an economists, because he understands the concept of choice and opportunity costs.

Second, "The best way to decide is chance. Chance has no moral or prejudice. Everyone gets a 50-50 probability," told Two-Face. No, he didn't refer to randomized trials when saying this. But I think sometimes it's a good idea to apply the method to evaluate the impact of a policy. Or not?

Note: Chris Nolan made some changes from the original Batman stories: how Harvey Dent turned Two-Face, and the introduction of Rachel Dawes' character that has never appeared in any movies or comic versions (hence the Wayne-Dawes-Dent love triangle). I don't know how the hardcore fans think about this deviation, but I don't have any problem with that. I also don't know why Katie Holmes no longer features as Dawes, but I like Maggie Glleynhaal better.

1 comment:

  1. Ledger at his best, but i'm not sure he's gonna win Academy Award for this. i sure like him here better than Brokeback Mountain part.

    on the other hand, Nolan is not that great in actress casting. Holmes is pretty but can't act. Gyllenhall can act but fugly; i like her but really this character doesn't suit her and she can't act all out here. compared with Kirsten Dunst or Kate Bosworth, both are unmatchable.

    and Gary Oldman, he can play anything and i would always love him. and Edward Norton. i rest my case.