Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

12 murdered at Dark Knight screening

This can’t be real. Can it? Writing today in The Ticket, I commented on the disturbing rise of a kind of internet fanaticism in relation to movies in general and as regards Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise in particular. The …

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 12:05

   

This can’t be real. Can it? Writing today in The Ticket, I commented on the disturbing rise of a kind of internet fanaticism in relation to movies in general and as regards Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise in particular. The piece has some considered points to make, but it is mostly comprised of facetious ranting. This is serious. We should, of course, hold off before drawing too many conclusions about events in Denver last night, but the incident does add some very dark colours to the conversation.

If you haven’t heard, it seems that a gunman opened fire at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in that Colorado city, killing 12 and injuring as many as 50. The fact that he was dressed in a gasmask suggests (yes, this is speculation) that he might have been taking on the persona of Bane, the homicidal villain in the new film.

Obviously, one first thinks of the victims and their families. But you also have to feel a little sorry for Christopher Nolan. He is a a fine director with a terrific eye and a superb grasp of atmosphere. More to the point, he seems like a decent human being. Homo Sapiens have been dreaming up violent entertainments since cavemen first began representing wars on the walls of their dwellings. The film-makers cannot be held responsible for the actions of one lone maniac who decides to recreate a fictional scenario. But, having expected to enjoy a triumphant weekend,  Nolan must now be feeling absolutely wretched.

To return to my piece, the incident does also cause us to think more seriously about those critics who received death threats for daring to not like The Dark Knight Rises. In this territory, we tend to dismiss such ranting as so much hopeless waffle. In a country where assault rifles are freely available to lunatics such threats should not be so casually dismissed.

Anyway, we need to allow the dust to settle before pontificating further. It is to be hoped that mid-market tabloids take similar pauses before jumping on the “ban this violent filth” bandwagon.