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The Dark Knight’s ‘Bane Problem': Nolan Plans Slight Sound Changes

Despite complaints that Tom Hardy’s Bane is difficult to understand in the new trailer and extended prologue for The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan apparently plans only slight changes to the sound.

Issues with Bane’s dialogue became apparent nearly two weeks ago during a press screening of the movie’s six-minute opening sequence and then were amplified online, where transcripts even circulated to help confounded viewers. Citing unnamed sources, Heat Vision reports that while Warner Bros. is aware of “the Bane problem” — a spokesperson even assured CBR News the Dec. 8 screening didn’t contain the final audio mix — and would like Nolan to make adjustments. However, the director has told executives he doesn’t plan a major rework.

“Chris wants the audience to catch up and participate rather than push everything at them. He doesn’t dumb things down,” an unnamed executive tells The Hollywood Reporter blog. “You’ve got to pedal faster to keep up.”

Nolan himself admitted as much to the trade paper earlier this month, acknowledging that between the mask and Hardy’s accent, some of Bane’s lines were made unintelligible. He seemed to shrug off the issue, saying that visuals are as important to storytelling as dialogue: “Otherwise, it’s just a radio play.”

Opening July 20, The Dark Knight Rises also stars Christian Bale as Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.


  • mdk

    Nolan’s starting to get a Lucas-sized ego on him, isn’t he?  I guarantee if this gets less-than-stellar reviews this July, every review will have the line, “You can’t understand a word he says” somewhere within.

  • Richard Casey

    I’ve understood ever line of Bane’s dialogue so far. As for Selina Kyle/Catwoman, is it just me or does her line in the trailer make it sound like she’s got some connection to Bane and his “uprising”?

  • Josh Grant

    I’ve only seen the trailer and had my laptop at about half-volume and I understood Bane’s lines. I imagine once people see it in a theater after the final audio mix we’ll be able understand everything. 

  • Todd Matthy

    There’s definitely a connection between her and Bane’s uprising. Do you think they’ll separate the League of Shadows from the League of Assassins. Bane seems much more overt then Ra’s Al Ghul was.

    Also, do you think they should tie the Joker to the League of Shadows or is it better if he was just some random guy that came out of nowhere and made Batman’s life a living hell?

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan

    Joker should DEFINITELY remain just a random guy that came out of nowhere. Having him be some sort of LoS plant takes away from his complete anarchist angle.

  • Mythos

    Everyone has assumed so far that Bane is leading the League of Shadows based on a couple of rumors from a few months ago… what if they’re wrong? What if Miranda Tate is Talia, the rightful leader of the League, and Bane is just a powerful thug with a terrorist following?

    Also, tying the Joker with the League of Shadows? Absolutely not. Joker is all about escalation: he’s the crazy guy who decided to put on make-up because there’s a crazy guy in a bat suit terrorizing criminals. That’s all there is to him.

  • 0bsessions

    Part of that may be the surroundings. I heard it fine as well, but presumably like you, I was watching in the comfort of my own home with no distractions. If his voice is muffled and hard to decipher, I imagine a louder, more bass driven theater with multitudes of people in it will only exacerbate the issue.

  • Flip Maker

    Having seen the prologue, I agree the dialogue is hard to understand.  Bane’s few lines in the trailer are much easier to understand.  No doubt, IMO, this is a problem.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t decide which is worse: Bane or Batman’s voice. I’ll wait till it comes out to finalize that thought.

  • Anonymous

    I saw the prologue in front of M.I. and enjoyed it thoroughly, but could understand maybe a third of Bane’s dialogue.
    The visuals definitely get across what’s going on, but it’s frustrating to not be able to make out a major characters speech.
    I’m hoping whatever tweaks Nolan applies, no matter how minor, are enough to fix the problem.

  • 0bsessions

    Makes sense. Hearing movie dialogue in the comfort of your home is a lot easier than hearing movie dialogue in a crowded theater.