Classic Scene #7: “If You Want to Kill a Public Servant Mr. Maroni, I Suggest That You Buy American”

“If you want to kill a public servant Mister Maroni, I suggest that you buy American.”

The Dark Knight (2008)

Directed by Christopher Nolan

"Damn, this is good podium!"

The Scene
Crime in Gotham city continues to be out of control due to a powerful group of mob families and corruption at all levels. Even Batman and Gordon cannot stem the tide of filth. Enter Harvey Dent, the new D.A., whose cool attitude and tough approach in the courtroom make him a hero. In his debut scene he deftly handles everything the criminals throw at him, including pulling a gun during a trail.

The Deconstruction
Batman and The Joker had already been clearly established in previous films and a wide marketing campaign, but Harvey Dent (Eckhart) remained a mystery. In his first scene he had to become a rival for Bruce Wayne’s love life, the man who can do what none of the others could in bringing down the mafia and win the viewers all in one hit. Although the character was slightly over-looked in favour of the more colourful types in this film, Eckhart’s performance is easily on par with them.

Than man excudes nothing but cool when he rocks in to the courtroom, late, with the seriousness of the situation written on Rachel’s (Gyllenhaal) face. When confronted by his enemy, a vicious and powerful gangster (Roberts), he responds with light hearted quips. Even when a hoodlum with nothing to lose whips out a gun and pulls the tirgger, he hesitates only briefly before physically disarming him and telling the aforementioned gangster that if he wants to kill a public servant, he suggests they ‘buy American’. Finally closing with telling the judge, who’s trying to shut the case down, that he’s “not finished”.

"Closing statement? Yeah, kiss my ass."

Already perceived as a slick operator from previous roles, Eckhart has always played a bad boy. In this role, as Gotham’s white knight, he excudes the same charm and edge without missing a beat. He’s the type of character that everyone in the audience can get behind, adding plenty of emotional weight to his eventual descend during which he becomes a more dangerous foe for Batman than The Joker.

Best Bit: His closing line. Oh, Bat-snap.