Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’
 In Film Studies, it is important to tell the difference between
the narrative and story
 Story = a sequence of events...
 Simply put, narrative is basically the order something is put in and
there is always a reason for this.
 For example,...
 Linear narratives are the ‘classic’ and simple
beginning, middle and end stories.
 This will follow the rule of situa...
 Of Christopher Nolan’s
films, few have a truly
linear narrative, except
perhaps ‘The Dark Knight’
 In simple terms,...
 Non-Linear Narrative is where the narrative
does nor follow a regular beginning-middle-end
pattern.
 The storyteller...
 Unlike The Dark Knight,
Batman Begins tends to
follow a non-linear
narrative (at least for the
first half)
 The ac...
 There is another of Nolan’s
films called ‘Memento’, the
main trait of which is it’s
unusual non-linear narrative
str...
 Now this is a theory that can be applied
to many texts but can also serve you
well if you want to disprove it.
 Adve...
 Equilibrium
 A disruption of this equilibrium by an event
 A realisation that a disruption has occurred
 An attemp...
 Equilibrium – Bruce Wayne is helping Inspector
Gordon to clean up Gotham City of crime, as
Harvey Dent leads the legal...
Vladimir Propp
Narrative theories
 Propp was a Russian critic who published his
Morphology of the Folk Tale in 1928
 Propp analysed over 100 Folk Tales ...
Hero
Villain
Princess
Donor
Helper
Father
Dispatcher
False Hero
•The Hero often seeks something e.g. A
quest, money or to save the life of a
Princess
•The Hero, according to Propp, is...
• The Villain often serves to cause disruption
to the general social order e.g. The Wicked
Witch in Snow White
• In the...
•The Princess is often the reward for the hero
and is often the reason for the hero’s quest
e.g. when Prince Charming sa...
• The Donor helps the Hero along their way,
often by giving them an item with mystical
powers
• In this case, Lucius Fo...
•Commissioner Gordon fulfils two character roles in
The Dark Knight, that of :
The Helper- Aids the hero, sometimes a
s...
• Batman believes that Harvey
Dent can become the “White
Knight” of Gotham City !
•Harvey Dent is seen as the real
Her...
•The Father role according to that of Propp
is often usually that of the father of the
princess, not of the Hero.
•For ...
 Levi-Strauss saw the world as full of
binary oppositions e.g. Fat Vs skinny,
rich Vs poor. This has transferred into
...
 The Dark Knight works on the
principle of The Joker and
Batman being binary opposites
 The Joker is an advocate of
...
 Barthes was interested in concepts such
as negotiated reading. This basically
meant the relationship between the
inst...
 The most well known of Barthes theories was the idea
of the ‘Enigma code’
 In its simplest form it is the hook or mys...
Narrative in Batman - The Dark Knight
Narrative in Batman - The Dark Knight
of 27

Narrative in Batman - The Dark Knight

An analysis of how Batman - The Dark Knight fits into different narrative theories
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative in Batman - The Dark Knight

  • 1. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’
  • 2.  In Film Studies, it is important to tell the difference between the narrative and story  Story = a sequence of events, known correctly as the plot (What actually happens e.g. The teacher taught the class about narrative and then they left  Narrative = the way those events are put together to be presented to an audience e.g. The teacher dismissed the class, then there was a series of flashback s of the lesson.  Therefore, when analysing a narrative we analyse the construction of the story ie the way it has been put together, not the story itself. You also need to consider what the story is about in its most basic terms, ie the theme (eg Love, war, winning).
  • 3.  Simply put, narrative is basically the order something is put in and there is always a reason for this.  For example, directors often use flashbacks, voiceovers or montages to show previous stories or show a passing of time.  Genre ,Character, Form and Time help us make sense of a narrative and also about what to expect.  You must consider whether there is one narrative going on. For example, Pulp Fiction has various stories with different characters going on. We call this a MULTI-STRAND NARRATIVE  There are a number of different narrative theories which propose ways in which stories (including films) are commonly put together
  • 4.  Linear narratives are the ‘classic’ and simple beginning, middle and end stories.  This will follow the rule of situation-disruption- resolution, in that order.  In other words, the story will flow chronologically (in time order) through one story, from beginning to end.
  • 5.  Of Christopher Nolan’s films, few have a truly linear narrative, except perhaps ‘The Dark Knight’  In simple terms, Batman is controlling crime in the city, The Joker turns up which disrupts this, Batman defeats The Joker and returns order to the city.
  • 6.  Non-Linear Narrative is where the narrative does nor follow a regular beginning-middle-end pattern.  The storytellers will play with the order of events.  For example, some films will choose to show the ending at the beginning (Fight Club, Forrest Gump, Inception etc.)
  • 7.  Unlike The Dark Knight, Batman Begins tends to follow a non-linear narrative (at least for the first half)  The action jumps between time periods, from Bruce was a boy, to when he was an young adult, to a mature adult, to back to a boy, back to a mature adult, to a young adult, etc. etc. as we will see…
  • 8.  There is another of Nolan’s films called ‘Memento’, the main trait of which is it’s unusual non-linear narrative structure  The story is told in reverse order, interspersed with extracts from a scene set right at the beginning of the film. The ending is shown in reverse at the beginning: http://www.youtube.com/watch ?v=cifPv4QWTH0
  • 9.  Now this is a theory that can be applied to many texts but can also serve you well if you want to disprove it.  Adverts employ this technique e.g. Nice clean carpet, spill wine, vanish saves the day and gets rid of the stain.  Todorov believed that texts are made up of fives stage of narrative.  This structure could be applied to both fictional and non-fictional texts.
  • 10.  Equilibrium  A disruption of this equilibrium by an event  A realisation that a disruption has occurred  An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption  A restoration of equilibrium or- A NEW EQUILIBRIUM (everything goes back to normal but maybe with some changes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDkltIaiQf w&list=PL606555723F99DD88
  • 11.  Equilibrium – Bruce Wayne is helping Inspector Gordon to clean up Gotham City of crime, as Harvey Dent leads the legal assault on the crime syndicates  Disruption of Equilibrium – The Joker offers to kill Batman in return for half of the crime proceeds of all the gangs  Realisation of Disruption – Inspector Gordon and Batman realise the need to team up to defeat The Joker after Commissioner Lowe’s death, but Gordon is shot  Attempt to repair Disruption – Most of the film – Batman attempts to restore the equilibrium in Gotham by getting rid of The Joker, despite Dent becoming corrupted  New Equilibrium – Peace and justice restored in Gotham, although it will never be the same, and neither will Bruce Wayne or Batman (no spoilers)
  • 12. Vladimir Propp Narrative theories
  • 13.  Propp was a Russian critic who published his Morphology of the Folk Tale in 1928  Propp analysed over 100 Folk Tales  He established that all of these tales followed a strict Narrative structure, based around 8 stock characters
  • 14. Hero Villain Princess Donor Helper Father Dispatcher False Hero
  • 15. •The Hero often seeks something e.g. A quest, money or to save the life of a Princess •The Hero, according to Propp, is often the protagonist, who drives the narrative forward. There are two types of Hero: •“The Seeker”- who aids the victims of the villain •“The Victim Hero”- who is the centre of the villains plans •Batman effectively plays both of these roles •In fairy tales, this role is often adopted by the Prince
  • 16. • The Villain often serves to cause disruption to the general social order e.g. The Wicked Witch in Snow White • In the film the Joker terrorises Gotham City, killing and damaging the city in acts of wanton destruction • He does this because he wants to challenge the role of the hero. For instance, he even kidnaps Batman’s love interest, Rachel Dawes The Villain is also usually deformed, evil or mythical e.g. The witch in Hansel and Gretel
  • 17. •The Princess is often the reward for the hero and is often the reason for the hero’s quest e.g. when Prince Charming saves Sleeping Beauty •Due to this fact, the Princess is often a target for the villain. In the film, the Joker kidnaps Rachel and kills her (which goes against usual conventions of a fairy tale ending) • Often seen as a damsel in distress However... •Although she needs Batman to save her she is a strong woman and to some degree, in her role as a lawyer, a heroine herself
  • 18. • The Donor helps the Hero along their way, often by giving them an item with mystical powers • In this case, Lucius Fox provides Bruce Wayne with such items as a utility belt, gadgets and a Bat mobile •Such gadgets in today's society are seen as somewhat magical in the respect that they are extremely ahead of their time and in many respects, impossible to conceive, like that of magic
  • 19. •Commissioner Gordon fulfils two character roles in The Dark Knight, that of : The Helper- Aids the hero, sometimes a sidekick e.g. The fairy godmother in Cinderella The Dispatcher- Often sends the hero on his way/ quest. This character also frequently alerts our hero to a problem
  • 20. • Batman believes that Harvey Dent can become the “White Knight” of Gotham City ! •Harvey Dent is seen as the real Hero of Gotham, due to his crime fighting in the courtroom. Batman believes that he can retire and leave Gotham city safely in his hands However... •When Rachel is killed by the Joker and Harvey Dent is left horribly disfigured, his Hero status is lost. He instead becomes the Villain Known as Two- Face. He is what Propp refers to as “The False Hero”
  • 21. •The Father role according to that of Propp is often usually that of the father of the princess, not of the Hero. •For example, the king may reward the Hero for saving his daughter (A Princess) from a dragon. However, in The Dark Knight, the Princess is murdered by the Villain. •The Father is therefore not a literal character, but the completion of the Hero’s mission, to rid Gotham of crime. If he succeeds, Rachel (at the beginning of the film) has promised to be with him. •Alfred does however fulfil the role of the Helper.
  • 22.  Levi-Strauss saw the world as full of binary oppositions e.g. Fat Vs skinny, rich Vs poor. This has transferred into media texts also.  In a narrative we often see these binary oppositions played off against each other.  In film, perhaps the most fundamental binary opposition is good vs. evil. This is explored by Nolan.
  • 23.  The Dark Knight works on the principle of The Joker and Batman being binary opposites  The Joker is an advocate of chaos and destruction, Batman of order and justice  Each dresses and behaves in opposite ways  “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immoveable object” http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=SDbINMm-d60
  • 24.  Barthes was interested in concepts such as negotiated reading. This basically meant the relationship between the institution and the audience.  He established that even though texts may imprint meaning into a text we produce new meaning for ourselves, that the media has no control over.  This is called cultural consumption. The way we view a text is influenced by our cultural, social and political views as well as our viewing of other texts.
  • 25.  The most well known of Barthes theories was the idea of the ‘Enigma code’  In its simplest form it is the hook or mystery to be resolved for an audience.  This keeps the viewers engaged and makes them more likely to watch the film after seeing a trailer or tune in for the next episode. It is classically used in trailers in order to hook an audience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPKhWXhiMSw