Jeff Bridges is a national treasure. The sheer variety of roles he's played -- computer nerd (Tron), alien (Starman), shock jock (The Fisher King), gunslinger (Wild Bill), businessman (Iron Man) -- has proven him to be an invaluable asset for any movie, one that keeps getting better with age. And his latest role, while reminiscent of past performances, demonstrates how he can immerse himself in a character, especially one that's incredibly unflattering.
Let's get the hype out of the way: Yes, The Dark Knight was hyped, hyped, hyped. Yes, it's opening on about seven gazillion screens (more than 4,300, to be precise). Yes, the hype got even more deafening after Heath Ledger's tragic death. The hype factory for this movie was working at such volume, in fact, that the rest of the movie sort of got lost in all the white noise. (For example, Aaron Eckhart? Fantastic in his own right, but there's nary a mention of his performance in the media coverage up to this point.)
Okay then, hype acknowledged -- about the movie, and about Ledger's performance in it. And to think I foolishly worried the movie couldn't live up to it all.