More on TDKR and Tale of Two Cities

Now that I have seen the movie THREE times, I have more notes. As always, if you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers, stop reading, ‘kay? 🙂 


OK so, fortuitously, I just re-read A Tale of Two Cities before I saw TDKR; this made it easy to pick out the parallels and things that Nolan did/may have been trying to do. 

  • Bruce Wayne/Batman embodies Sydney Carlton. Bruce is the “billionaire playboy” who parties, buys hotels, gambles away his trust fund, and broods. That’s about it.  But Batman saves the city and does it all anonymously. In the same way, Sydney is a wealthy lawyer, who, apart from his love for Lucie, hasn’t really done anything noteworthy in his life. But by taking Charles’ place at the Guillotine, he achieves “Batman”—saving the city/Lucie’s husband. No one—except Lucie and her father and the other lawyer (whose name I’m forgetting, darn it)—know that Sydney is really the one who died. In the same way, very few people know that it was Bruce Wayne who was Batman (although it seemed like people were guessing it right and left in this last movie, geez. Blowing cover!). So Charles lives with Lucie, and Batman’s reputation is restored. But it was Bruce/Sydney who did the saving. 
  • Bane’s extremely warped sense of justice is also linked to the book. The French Revolution might have had good intentions—i.e., the massive ignorance of the Upper Classes at what the normal Frenchmen were enduring. But the way the “correction” was brought about was so totally wrong. It’s a warped sense of justice (in the film you can see this when the apartments are looted and in the trial sequences.) The argument can be made for change, but not how it’s being done. The Defarges, in ATOTC, are so blind and enraged that they take their hatred out on anyone—even Charles Darnay, who is living in England and has never made a claim on the Evremonde fortune and estates that, technically, are his. Dickens makes it clear that in the “quest for justice”, a lot of innocent people are harmed. 
  • I was wrong about Gordon’s book (By the by, it’s the Penguin classic edition, the paperback): he’s got it open to near the end, leaving space for the notes, etc. So in an edition like that the last line wouldn’t be on the last page, like I previously thought. But it’s a TOTALLY different book (bigger and older) when he’s talking to John outside the mansion post-funeral. 
  • Speaking of the mansion: According to The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy (which you should get!), the House in Batman Begins is Mentmore Towers in the UK, while in TDKR it’s Wollaton Hall, in Nottinghamshire. Some of the scenes shot on location at Wollaton include: the pearl theft and the Harvey Dent Day party at the beginning. The interiors were filmed at the Cardington Shed, which is also where Bane’s underground lair and the prison were filmed.  
  • The aerial sequence at the beginning was filmed in Scotland—specifically, Inverness.  (Interiors shot at Cardington, as well.) So get a load of the Scottish highlands!