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(2008), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (2hr 20min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
July 28, 2008
August 13, 2008

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Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2008), PG-13 [Hard R-13*]

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, DC Comics, Syncopy
Distribution (US): Warner Bros. Pictures
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Producer(s): Kevin De La Noy, Jordan Goldberg, Philip Lee, Karl McMillan, Benjamin Melniker, , Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Thomas Tull, Michael E. Uslan
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Story by: David S. Goyer
Characters: Bob Kane
Cinematography/Camera: Wally Pfister
Music: James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Lee Smith
Casting: John Papsidera
Production Design: Nathan Crowley
Art Direction: Mark Bartholomew, James Hambidge, Kevin Kavanaugh, Simon
Lamont (supervising art director), Steven Lawrence, Naaman Marshall
Viewed At: Showbiz Cinema 6

This analysis report is sponsored by E&HP, DC and AA.

I am so sorry this report is so late. Though the film has been playing for a couple weeks now this report is still before the film reaches video. I am losing a great deal of ministry time trying to find a secular job. Yes, it has come to that. It is now a race between finding a secular job to support six kids or someone stepping forward with the funding necessary to continue operating the CAP Ministry fulltime or someone willing to donate their time and effort to help us find and secure 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding. A fulltime 40-hour secular job with ten to fifteen hours per week commute time or the ministry 60 - 80 hours per week. One or the other. Both cannot be done.

One year after Batman (Christian Bale) and Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) clean up much of the organized crime in Batman Begins, Gotham City is enjoying a growing peace. But all good Earthly things must come to an end.

Soon appears a ruthless bank robbing sadistic and supremely insane character, The Joker (Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain). The Joker is bent first on wrecking Gotham by throwing its government into chaos and its citizenry into anarchy then by killing Batman.

After Falcone's defeat in Batman Begins, in spite of Batman and Lt. Gordon's vigilance the remaining crime bosses of what was Falcone's realm of evil attempt to rebuild their organization of evil. But the "new kid in town" is killing them off one by one as they kill each other off.

The Joker is, of course, not responsible for his rampage of villainy and malfeasance. One must always understand that a bad daddy is the one responsible for his adult son's evil choices since the victim of a dysfunctional home never has a mind of his own. At least that is apparently what the Spocks and Frueds want us to believe.

By the way, Benjamin Spock, who died on March 16, 1998, admitted he was wrong. He said We have reared a generation of brats. Parents aren't firm enough with their children ... We didn't realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self-assurance of parents. Maybe God is more right than Spock was after all. 'Spare the rod, spoil the child', 'beat him with the rod' [Prov. 23:14] and all that.

Before you fall aback with that, the "rod" does not mean what the new agers want you to think it means. I'll explain that in a moment. Note also that "beat" (nakah) has many translations, some physically brutal and some not such as "clap", "applaud" or "thrust." The "rod" can be an "applause" (a compliment) as well as a "thrust" (push, poke) as an act of discipline. Never was the shepherd's "rod" an instrument of damage for his sheep. Neither should you use a rod to damage your "sheep." At times the shepherd of old saved the lives of his sheep with his rod -- in more ways than one. Not only was the shepherd's rod an instrument of direction and control, sometimes aggressively, it was a weapon against predators. Figuratively, the service of this ministry can be your "rod" of correction and defense against the "cinematic predators." Read our publication Spare the Rod -- Spoil the Child: A Parental Perspective for more information.

Crime again plagues Gotham City at the hands of The Joker -- but with a twist. The Joker is also bent on labeling Batman (Christian Bale) a criminal. The Joker repeatedly tries to make Batman the bad guy by killing someone unless Batman reveals his secret identity. But Batman won't do it.

So, the Word-blind world sees Batman as the criminal since he could stop the murders if he would simply reveal his secret identity. Never mind that it is The Joker who is pulling the trigger, lighting the fatal fires, etc. Batman could stop it all if he would just submit to the Joker's extortion and reveal his secret identity. Well!? Failing to submit to the Joker's extortion makes the murders Batman's fault, doesn't it? Sound familiar? Just like the kidnapers who say "Give me the ransom and your daughter lives else her blood is on your hands." By that rationale it is your fault if the kidnapper kills your daughter. Just like the mugger who tells you to give him your money or he will have to hurt you. Such extortion is certainly in violation of God's Word [Ezek. 22:12], but what about "turn the other cheek?" [Matt. 5:39] Jesus certainly did ... all the way from the mount of Olives to Golgotha. I remember a few bullies in public school who tried to extort things from me with "Gimme your [whatever] and I won't have to hurt you." A couple of them, one in particular, experienced an attitude adjustment when I explained the error of their ways. That is one of my own sins -- I am not strong enough turn the other cheek to bullies and other extortioners. I guess I do not love extortioners as much as Jesus wants me to. [Luke 6:27] In this area I am weak.

As The "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules" Joker fuels his passion for anarchy, Lt. James Gordon and the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) band together with the Dark Knight to rid Gotham City of the latest rampage of rage and ruin.

The Dark Knight (Batman Begins Sequel - working title) is a hardcore R-13 due mainly to sadistic violence and murder. It is R-equivalent in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impudence/Hate and Murder/Suicide but PG in everything else (Sexual Immorality, Drugs/Alcohol, Offense to God).

The film starts with a bank robbery where the remnants of the Falcone mob kept their ill-gotten loot. A gaggle of five of robbers in clown masks aim to collect all the loot the previous bad guys amassed ... and whatever other money was in the bank. The bank manager, who is on the payroll of the mobsters, gets shot in the process as he tries to shoot clowns with a shotgun. The corrupt bank manager also gets a grenade in his mouth by a sixth clown who lifts his mask to reveal he is The Joker.

As a criminal-driven school bus rams through a bank wall to load the loot, killing yet another clown, The Joker ties a string from the grenade's arming pin to the back of the bus. As the bus drives away and pulls the arming pin out of the grenade we find the grenade is just a smoke grenade. But the terror was the same as if it were an explosive grenade.

Here is an example of the lame rationale exhibited in much of the cinematography. The bank manager could simply have open his jaw further and the grenade would have fallen out then rolled away and, depending on the tension needed to pull the pin, the bus pulling away would have dragged the grenade away. But I guess the filmmakers were not counting on any of the viewers having any observational intelligence. Not that I have any more such intelligence than any one else but let's get real.

And as this goes on, with no remorse or concern whatsoever The Joker, who appears to have planned the robbery but did not do any of the actual robbery work, murders one of the clowns who points this out. Some clowns get killed by other clowns to get a larger cut of the loot. The show doesn't get much better than that.

I am not going to belabor the plot or story since quite probably everyone who was planning to see this film already has. At least those who wait for the video can take advantage of this service.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
I cannot impress upon you enough the gravity of what I am about to share with you. So, please bear with me.

In June 1996 we found that it is not so much the cinematic demonstration of violence, gore, sex, drugs, etc. that influence the perception, outlook, moral bearing, coping skills and behavioral choices of the viewer before their early twenties. The demonstration of these evils do have a part in influencing the young heart and mind but we found that the most influential menace in much of modern entertainment is more the attitude portrayed during the demonstration of aberrant behavior. For more information see ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations.

Our finding reveals the strongest presence in modern entertainment is indeed attitude. A bad attitude. An attitude of contempt and even belligerence toward wholesome ethics and righteousness. Note that in Prov. 6:16 - 19 God warns of seven sins He hates. The attitude, which He describes as a proud look or haughty eyes, is the first in that list of seven sins He hates. And our finding reveals that the attitude (impudence, hate, arrogance, etc.) is the strongest presence in modern entertainment. Too bad that so many filmmakers choose the bad attitude over a good one. A good attitude portrayed in and as entertainment can have as much of a positive influence as a bad attitude can have a negative influence. But n-o-o-o! We have to shove in the gore, guts, blood, hate, nihilism, arrogance, stealing, killing, destroying, etc. Stealing? Killing? Destroying? Jesus had that to say about one in particular ... Satan, who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. [John 10:10] How surprising is it then that our entertainment serves up buckets of Satan's pleasure?

Such strong portrayal of an attitude of brutality and bumptious arrogance, of impudence and rebellion, of anarchy and sadism as in The Dark Knight presents the property with the deepest reach into the adolescent mind and heart. Since adolescents must already battle with what God calls foolishness in their hearts [Prov. 22:15], such entertainment as The Dark Knight with The Joker portraying purely sadistic brutality without the slightest hint of remorse for his evil deeds will, to whatever degree, influence young minds negatively. Please rebuke and deny the closed minded thinking that kids gotta learn of such evils somehow. It is up to YOU, not a filmmaker when, how, where, by what means and to what extent kids learn of such evils. Please accept further that using entertainment to teach how not to behave too often teaches how to not behave.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 40 out of 100
This film is yet another opportunity for your young ones to have their home-taught inhibitions against profanity dashed on the rocks. Thirteen times, once for every year of MPAA acceptability, someone uses an expletive from the three/four letter word vocabulary without consequences, of course. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29, Eph. 5:4] Little does it matter to filmmakers that each use of that language is sinful. And little does it matter to them that it is also sinful to plant such mentality in the minds of the young. Luke 17:2 warns that s/he who teaches and/or causes the little ones (which, by definition, includes at-home teens) to sin would be better off if a millstone were tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. And that is Jesus Himself speaking. That includes any sin, not just profanity.

Other matters of impudence and/or hate in the content include extortion [Ps. 62:10] to force performance, submitting to it, lies and The Joker saying "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules" (anarchy).

Sexual Immorality (S) - 81 out of 100
The Dark Knight seems atypical of PG-13 films regarding sexually immoral behavior content. With an investigation area score of 81 the sexual immorality of this film is equivalent to most PG films in the comparative baseline database. There were some instances of excessive cleavage, hints of cohabitation, a crude anatomical reference, the use of women as toys or ornaments and adults in underwear. Probably the most severe of sexually immoral behaviors was a man and woman buttoning up their clothes while she was still on a couch. [Eph. 5:4, Eph. 4:19, Col 3:5]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 76 out of 100
Talk of drug dealing and a few of scenes of alcoholic beverages and drinking of them appeared, dragging this investigation area from 100 down to 76. An area score of 76 here makes this film PG-equivalent in Drugs/Alcohol but a score of 76 doesn't make it "safe."

Offense to God (O) - 79 out of 100
Again atypical of most PG-13 films, with only six uses of God's name in vain and no findings of occult or evil magic to do harm the Offense to God investigation area score reveals content equivalent to most PG-rated films. Neither does an investigation area score of 79 make this film "safe." God has stern warnings about using His name in vain. Every time. [Duet. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - Zero out of 100
Nineteen individual murders and a couple episodes of multiple murders. What more needs to be said? [Prov. 28:17, Ex 20:13]


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  • Prov. 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
  • Ezek. 22:12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.
  • Matt. 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  • Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
  • Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. [Jesus is speaking figuratively of Satan when he refers to the thief.]
  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander (injurious speech), and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Ps. 62:10 Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
  • Eph. 4:19 Having lost all sensitivity, they [the sinful] have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
  • Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: [Mortify: nekroo {nek-ro'-o} - deprive of power, control, be master of rather than slave to. Members: melos {mel'-os} - a member of the human body given up to immoral sexual activity. Upon the earth: while living on the Earth. Fornication: porneia {por-ni'-ah} - illicit sexual intercourse. Uncleanness: akatharsia {ak-ath-ar-see'-ah} - in a moral sense, the impurity of lustful living. Inordinate affection: - pathos {path'-os} - lust. Evil concupiscence: epithumia {ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah} - desire, craving, longing for what is forbidden. Covetousness: pleonexia {pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah} - greedy desire to have more. Idolatry: eidololatreia {i-do-lol-at-ri'-ah}: the worship of false gods, including the "god" of lust and inordinate desire].
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]
  • Prov. 28:17 A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.
  • Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. ["Kill" {ratsach}: to murder, slay.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Dark Knight (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • robbery with gunfire to kill
  • firearm threat, frequent
  • beating, repeatedly
  • gunfire to kill / attempted murder by gunfire, frequent
  • action violence of varying intensities, repeatedly
  • surgical procedures
  • injuries
  • criminal proceedings throughout
  • planning to kill, repeatedly
  • contract to kill
  • knife threat to face, repeatedly
  • tale of murderous family life, extreme family dysfunction
  • abduction, repeatedly
  • torture, repeatedly
  • killing people until compliance is extorted
  • gunfire to intimidate
  • firearm threat to head
  • multiple hostages
  • blade impalement
  • series of insane, sadistic threats
  • sight of murder victims, repeatedly
  • extortion throughout, including using lives as leverage
  • reckless driving, repeatedly
  • assault by fall
  • vehicular assault, repeatedly
  • other assault, repeatedly
  • attempted murder by incineration
  • burn gore, repeatedly, long sequences
  • soliciting assisted suicide (holding barrel of gun held by another to one's head)
  • massive explosions
  • threat to kill hundreds, including children
  • animal attack
  • child as hostage
  • firearm threat to child's head
  • fall with unconsciousness

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 40 out of 100
  • 13 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lying, repeatedly
  • blaming victim for criminal's deeds throughout
  • submitting to extortion
  • submitting to terrorist's demands
  • "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules"
  • order to lie

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 81 out of 100
  • excessive cleavage
  • implication of cohabitation
  • crude anatomical reference
  • women as toys / ornaments, repeatedly
  • man and woman buttoning up their clothes after implied intercourse
  • adults in underwear
  • use of term for multiple rape

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 76 out of 100
  • reference to drug dealing
  • party drinking
  • booze as a relief
  • drinking, twice
  • bar
  • booze

    Offense to God (O) - 79 out of 100
  • six uses of God's name in vain
  • forcing a good guy in a bad guy role [Isa. 5:20]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - Zero out of 100
  • at least 19 individual murders plus a couple multiple murders

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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