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July 25, 2008

Bail for Bale

Dark_knight_2 I've yet to see The Dark Knight, but I don't think anyone would doubt that there's something deeply dark about this blockbuster (that kept me trolling around in the parking lot for ten minutes last weekend battling all those premiere-goers). Heath Ledger's shocking death created endless questions of cause and effect. And, now Christian Bale's disheartening brush-off of the recent allegations that he assaulted his mother and sister should lead us to seriously question how unconnected actor and character truly are.

For me, it was an extra crushing (no pun intended) blow. Every girl has had her Hollywood sweetheart, the one that captured her heart during some daring feat across the silver screen. For many, it was Jimmy Stewart, Harrison Ford, or Brad Pitt. But from the moment 18-year-old Christian Bale led all of his fellow newspaper boys to victory in Newsies, he had my heart. Since then, with the exception of his softer appearances in Swing Kids and Little Women, Bale has gone on to define himself by more brooding roles, most recently in The Prestige, Rescue Dawn, 3:10 to Yuma, and now Dark Knight.

Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Is it too far-fetched to believe that in between fighting darkness on the screen, some of that brooding has crept out of the big screen and into real life?

(Image © Warner Brothers)

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I'm not sure Christian Bale is "brushing-off" the allegations. It's just a private affair that he wants to handle as such: privately. The truth is, we don't know what happened. I've read there are different levels of "asault" in the UK, some of which involve no physical contact at all.

Personally, I find it refreshing that, instead of airing his dirty laundry, he's asked for privacy to allow the matter to be investigated by the police and handled properly.


Regardless of the situation that Bale finds himself in, the questions raised by Zoe are quite appropriate. Is is any wonder that an industry that depicts illicit affairs on-screen, that depicts legitimate marriages (between two people who in "real-life" are unmarried), can't seem to create a safe culture for it's employees wherein a family can stay intact, a marriage can remain monogamous, and a husband and a wife can love and respect each other? It is no wonder to me at all.



FYI, one of Christian Bale's finest turns on the big screen was one of his first efforts in a great, Steven Spielberg film from the mid/late 1980's which no one bothered to see: Empire of the Sun. A visually stunning, historically fascinating production starring a barely teenage Christian Bale. Harrowing and heartbreaking -- an overlooked gem. I've enjoyed much of his work ever since.

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