I'm not sure what it says about me, but the darker and more disturbing that Heath Ledger's Joker became with his stories and jokes and methods of killing people, the more I would laugh. I don't know if his performance if Oscar-worthy as some have been saying, but it is a remarkable performance.
One part of it reminded me of Burgess Meredith's Penguin. Go with me here...
Burgess Meredith had quit smoking before he accepted the role of The Penguin on the old Batman tv series, and the cigarettes he smoked irritated his throat. So, instead of stopping a take to cough, he incorporated the clearing of his throat into the character. All those quack-like sounds he was making started out as necessity; we interpreted them as character.
I think the same is true of Ledger's Joker. All of the makeup in and around his mouth must have irritated him slightly and caused him to move his tongue around and out of his mouth over and over. Maybe someone told him to do more with it, maybe not, but that little piece of business - - his tongue moving around and out of his mouth over and over - - was as disturbing and unsettling to me as the makeup, the voice and his knives.
There's only one way to sum up just how brilliant The Dark Knight truly is and I can't take credit for it. This one sentence review came from the girl sitting behind me last night at the theatre.
Right after The Joker's semi flipped over, she said (more than once)...
"Awww... That was the shit!"
I couldn't agree more.