The Dark Knight’s War on Terrorism
21 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2010 Last revised: 1 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 2011
This article considers Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film, The Dark Knight, as a reflection on legality and security in the post-9/11 era. The article examines how the film depicts three specific counterterrorism policies associated with the war on terrorism (namely rendition, coercive interrogation and warrantless surveillance), and argues that none of the film’s depictions of these actions can properly be seen as endorsement of their Bush Administration-era equivalents. Accordingly, the film is better viewed as something other than an affirmation of the Bush Administration’s war on terrorism. Rather, as this article contends, the film is about the need for public resoluteness in the face of terrorism, and about the inherent limitations of relying on vigilantism. Therefore, unusually for a film about a superhero, the film is ultimately about reaffirming law, legal institutions, and popular courage.
Keywords: Batman, Popular Culture, Terrorism, National Security, Rendition, Torture, Coercive Interrogation, Terrorist Surveillance Program
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