Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel hits UK cinemas on July 25. Here's a sneak peek.
The word tragic is possibly the most over-used in the English media, but that's the only way to describe Heath Ledger's death at 28 at the beginning of this year.
The Australian actor had already completed his role as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and here's a first, world exclusive look (barring the bravura but blurry five-minute clip of the opening sequence which keeps popping up online before being unceremoniously felled by the relevant authorities) at this most menacing of performances.
Hard to tell whether talk of an Oscar nod is appropriate from this short segment, which centres on the unwelcome arrival of the super-villain and his henchmen at a black tie dinner, but I love the hunched, feral intensity of Ledger's Joker. The facially scarred, heavily made-up criminal is looking for Harvey Dent, Gotham's new district attorney, and a man who (at the start of the film at least) has cleaned up the city's streets so effectively that Batman wonders if it might be time to hang up his Batcape for good.
Many wondered whether Ledger, a relative ingenue compared to Jack Nicholson, could match the veteran's famous turn in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, but in my opinion this visceral new take on the character makes his predecessor's look like a hammy pantomime act.
The Dark Knight hits cinemas here on July 25. We'd love to get your views on this one. [guardian.co.uk]