Articles: Dark Knight Offscreen Violence




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Jonathan McMillan

AURORA, Colo. – I was going to write up a glowing review of Christopher Nolan's “The Dark Knight Rises” – a movie so good I actually screened it twice earlier this week.

I told a friend who was "hyped" about seeing the movie at midnight on July 20, that he wouldn't be disappointed.

In my rough draft I mentioned that the IMAX version was larger than life. I also mentioned that in this highly intense PG-13 film most of the violence occurs off-screen. In addition, I wondered if the parallels in the plot to the real world conflict of the 99 percent versus the elite one percent were intentional.

But to paraphrase comedian Kevin Hart, the sh-- just got real.

I woke up this morning to the shocking news that at a movie theater 2.6 miles away from my house, a gunman opened fired into a crowd attending the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

As of this writing, 12 people have been killed and over 50 people have been injured including a 3-month-old-baby. The injuries range from gunshot wounds to exposure to some type of chemical agent. According to officials, this is the worst shooting in U.S. history.

Witnesses say the gunman entered in the theater through a fire exit dressed in what has been described as riot gear including a bulletproof vest. He then released two canisters of teargas before opening fire on the unsuspecting audience.

Reportedly the killer began the slaughter just minutes into the film, which added to the confusion. Many people thought the man standing in the front of the screen with guns and teargas was affiliated with the movie whose main protagonist is a ruthless mercenary/terrorist named Bane.

But sadly, no – the heartless madman causing the terror inside theater 9 was all too real. Although I was not there, I feel a twinge of anxiety knowing that more than most, that could have easily been me and my family. As I write this column a father has just confirmed his 6-year-old daughter is among the dead.

So, now I submit this as my review of “The Dark Knight Rises” - a movie about a hero who rises up against the crime and evil taking over his beloved city.

Yes, it's a really, really good movie - the best of the summer if not the year, but in comparison to the chaos that marred it's premiere: It's not larger than life. And sadly, most of the violence took place off screen.

Movies are supposed to be a temporary mental escape from that reality but as they say; some things are truly stranger than fiction.

No matter how intense the plot – nothing can measure up to or parallel the senselessness and madness that is taking place in my backyard right now.

The reality is that our world doesn't have a Dark Knight to fight the evil that plagues our world. Thankfully, this morning my friend let me know he was physically unharmed although he is a bit shaken up.

So many people will be affected and touched by this "act of depravity" as Gov. John Hickenlooper described it. If you are able to do so; be there for those folks, even if it's just lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.

We all need to strive to be better than average.

Follow me in Twitter @wydeopen


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