Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Nominee#1 - The Dark Knight (2008)
When the menace known as The Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham. The Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
The opening scene of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008) is not merely a daring bank heist. It is also the astonishing introduction to Batman's greatest nemesis, the Joker. As the violent heist unfolds, the crew of robbers - all wearing clown masks - kill each other to grab a bigger share of the loot. Until finally, there is only one standing - the mastermind of the heist and the author of anarchy - the Joker. When he eventually takes off his mask, the Joker reveals - to a startled and unsettled audience - the face of a clown who has no need for a mask!
The opening scene is also an assault on the senses, on the body, the mind, the soul. But with the perverse allure of a roller-coaster it allows your greed for thrill to overpower your sense of foreboding and you step in regardless, . The very first frame suggests you’ve woken up in the middle of a dream – or have just been numbed into one. You feel like you’re in the wrong alley, that you shouldn’t be there, something’s about to go horribly wrong and you’re in a place when you should really be someplace else. The hoodlums in the car are discussing the Joker with him in the backseat. He’s silent. Waiting.
Then there’s the score. Hans Zimmer is obviously a Ph.D in Psychology, apart from his qualification as a composer.
As opening sequences go, Nolan gave us a classic. The music and the visuals combine to give the heist a frenzied, filled-with-mini-twists pace.
It starts off a bit like a bout of tinnitus that you’ve ignored for far too long and it gets more insistent, more alarming as the seconds tick by. Bolts being fired, shots ringing out and masks, masks, masks. This is after all the intro to one of the most iconic movies in movie history and it's about a masked superhero. William Fitchner as the Bank Manager starts off slow, first taking time to remove his reading glasses! A metaphorical unmasking, unravelling. Then bursts forward in explosive action to ‘’defend’’ his bank and it’s all over before it begins. The first line you hear the Joker say is ‘’I kill the bus driver’’ and you wonder along with the guy pointing his gun at the Joker, whether it really all is a joke. But for some reason you’re not laughing. Then just before the end of the beginning, that scene has a philosophical moment – a wounded Fitchner demands of the Joker ‘’What do you believe in?” And the Joker about to mount his getaway bus, takes his time, saunters over and indulges us all.
And that's our first entry for Opening Sequences.