There’s some lethal form of energy, in an almost inwardly sense about the phrase implode. The complete opposite to explode where devastation wrecks on the outside if a thing implodes, the literature suggests, the wreckage is caused from within.
But what if this bombing of sorts, magnified by sheer disruption, caused by tiny minute particles bursting in unison created a figurine? And what if that figurine was here to stay, lending its identity to a unique body form, as if creating a character, say a human that could be mobile and could communicate?
And what if before the implosive force of raw energy could even entertain the idea of stagnating, it would lend itself to create newer forms of energy, each having a distinct character, appeal and, allure?
In the context of movies, such an implosion can happen when something inside an actor is moved. And when great determination allies a direction of an outlet.
Or, simply put great implosive body of cinema happens when a Christian Bale decides to lend himself to a body of work that goes on to take myriad body forms such as- Harsh Times, The Flowers of War, The Machinist, The Fighter, The Prestige and, of course- Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
So much about Christian Bale is inward instead of swinging outwardly, prudent instead of being talkative, collected with grace instead of babbling (save that inexcusably cheap familial ranting now part of social media landscape) and, reassuringly quiet albeit seemingly stormy that it seems something somewhere is going to happen that could put someone in trouble.
In a career that’s touching 2 decades of being in film-business (since ‘showbiz’ seems cheap deducing of his working life), Bale has been massively overlooked, taken his own sweet time to spring into worldwide attention, blossomed as an actor, transformed his body with an almost surgical precision to suit different characters, been part of blockbuster commercial hits, developed a knack of outperforming his critics and their unworldly assessments of his craft and, given the world a new, darkly haunting but saintly savage definition to the Batman. And in so doing, has remained sagely aloof of his most celebrated role as the Dark Knight, once he’s on screen saviour hung his cape and its British body emerged unscathed from the emotional torment of nostalgia that could’ve severely hampered his craft had Bale not ‘moved on’ in the true sense.
In between, he disturbed us charismatically, as only he could as the dopey-eyed, light-weight, deeply disturbed man in The Fighter, put on oodles while telling Bradley he wasn’t the only dude in American Hustle, saved the Oriental from needless massacre in The Flowers of War and, romanced, flirted and, got his mind screwed and heart crushed in Knight of Cups.
Even the way in which this 44-year-old interacts and directs himself at his job is such that, at times, it seems, his colossal energy levels have been stalled. Sadly, by the self! Even if, at all these times, it were the characteristic staid elegance and casual reticence in him being at work and no stalling of energy.
Not since Jimmy Stewart or perhaps Robin Williams has there been an actor so manically hungry to prove himself, to himself, about being capable of genius than Christian Bale. Or held considerable remorseless pleasure of not being caught up in an awareness that he can do great to a character, subliminally, putting erudition and an inwardly driven tensile strength to good measure. The way he shape-shifted in The Machinist, American Psycho and, Batman Begins, doing The Fighter somewhere in the middle, drawing the ire of those who derive pleasure in lamenting him and rubbing salts in the wounds of those who denied him his true standing as an actor with a rare gift, speaks of the tremors Christian Bale is adept at causing. And at the same time, underlines the charisma he is gifted at invoking, utterly for the delight of his fans.
So much so that in the process of giving himself completely to the indomitable length and breadth of his character, every time it begins to seem that Christian is about to crash, he manages to ‘Bale’ out from the rigid canvass of saying exit to a movie role.
And yet, 20 years into making films and about 40 commercial movies old, having taken a mind-beating as much as enduring body-breaking on several counts, it doesn’t fully register that Bale hasn’t done a movie in about a while.
He did have, some low timers on the box office in the last few years, burning high with raw energy, waning out low like Out of the Furnace. But the swelteringly hot and emotive angst-filled characters that Bale has brought forth have carried such weight that they continue to scream loudly, asking for attention, long after those have been scripted. It is part of his charm and his unrelenting vigour to extract nothing less than his very best, from himself, in giving himself to a project. Remember, it’s not just about versatility.
In Christian Bale’s world, it is about reforming a film through the outright rendering of energy
Using this inlet of energy and putting it into a framework of a film’s boundaries but anchoring it on unbent and unrelenting energy, Bale presented filmgoers with his version of Batman, the Dark Knight.
It was, truth be told, an unimaginable rendering of sorts to a character that was always more on the tormented side than only treading on dusty roads all by itself.
In a charismatic, well-structured and systematic narration about an orphan’s plundering and a layer-by-layer unravelling of what became of his eccentric billionaire life, Nolan came to rest the cerebral responsibility of illuminating a tormented character with Christian Bale. And so universally lauded was Bale’s rendition of orchestrating Batman’s pain, resurgence, exile and, comeback- marveling with gadgets, romancing with flirtatious love, segregating of his empire into pots of unyielding hubris and, his enormous comeback to defend Gotham when it mattered most- that he not only became the Caped Crusader but the Hero none could ever have more faith in. You were so numb by the comforting of Batman’s profusely passionate saving of Gotham that no more love could save you from the healing of your own numbness.
You could want no more, having seen Batman wane out, tire out and re-emerge as the wrecker-in-chief of Bane’s divisive plans of rampaging Gotham, a city which Bruce Wayne lived in and which only a Batman could save when all gave up.
Clinically assaulting Marconi, as he learnt to be part of Ra’s al Ghul league of shadows, deriding crime as he prevented Gotham from being divided ruthlessly by the cunning of the Joker, Bale’s Batman ordained a savagery upon the nemesis of those who harmed ‘his people’- a society that remained divided on the mythology of Batman, going as far as doubting their own savior.
Exulting rich vein of emotion into a cape he wore not before undergoing tremendous self-transformation, underlining with characteristic ‘Christian Bale implosion’, the Batman’s coming out of the pit of hell, the slob of no hope was symbolic of one man’s tireless fight against injustice. And implicit in this ‘Rising’ was the demarcation of Christian Bale’s Batman’s territory- a vengeance-filled, sagely aloof and, elementally structured tale of courage and fight, resolve and determination that ultimately gave those who had lost hopes from Batman- their Dark Knight.
In a world where falling to lows is as common a situation as choosing grief over hope, it helps to Rise like Christian Bale.