“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done;
it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
This one of my all-time favorite lines from one of my all-time favorite novels, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
It is also one of my favorite lines from a movie I saw early this morning, The Dark Knight Rises. I will not say anything about how this line functions in the movie because I am morally opposed to spoilers. (If you comment on this post, please don’t spoil the movie for others.) I will say, simply, that it is a beautiful, appropriate line, well used in the service of a stirring and disturbing film.
I was surprised that a line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities figured so prominently in The Dark Knight Rises. I was doubly surprised in that I am right now in the process of re-reading this classic tale. I did not expect that my midnight-movie-going adventure would intersect with my effort to enrich my life by reading a great novel. Yet these two did intersect, and not just in a single quotation.
In fact, The Dark Knight Rises is a contemporary retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, now set in post-9/11, Occupy Wall Street colored Gotham City (appropriately filmed in New York). The Dark Night Rises screenwriters, Christopher and John Nolan, intentionally drew upon A Tale of Two Cities. I did not know this before I saw the movie. But once I heard the line from the novel, all the pieces fell into place.
I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises. It kept me utterly engaged and utterly awake, which is really saying something for a two-hour-and-44-minute film that I watched from 12:30 to 3:14 in the morning. It’s not a perfect film, but it is substantial and entertaining.
However, if you like The Dark Knight Rises, then do yourself a huge favor and read the book. No, not the novelization of the movie, but the novel on which it is based, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. You’ll be glad you did.