“Look at this face. This is the face of Gotham’s bright future”
Watching The Dark Knight, for the second time, I was very impressed by the carefully placed hints regarding Harvey Dent’s two-faced nature. Throughout the film, with framing and lighting, Christopher Nolan prepares his audience about the tragic end of Harvey Dent. Also, going back to the film, we can see that when Harvey Dent is associated with the future of Gotham, the film foreshadows the deformed future of Harvey Dent and how it relates to Gotham City’s future
One of the scenes I was very impressed by is the scene where Harvey Dent interrogates Shiff. What is significant about this scene is how Nolan captures the two-faced nature of Dent even before half of his face gets deformed, and in a way foreshadows his future. Throughout the scene, lighting is so carefully used that half of Harvey Dent’s face is always left in the dark, while other half is left in light. Even if we don’t consider this choice as a tool for foreshadowing, the lighting works perfect in the scene. As Harvey Dent uses violence for the “good” of the city, the moral duplicity of his actions are reflected in the double nature of his face.
Another great reference to Dent’s future two-faced nature is when Bruce Wayne says “Look at this face. This is the face of Gotham’s bright future.” Even though, in the scene Bruce Wayne compliments Dent and shows him as this pure and heroic person who will “save” the city of Gotham, knowing the future deformed nature of Dent, the quote gains other meanings. Just as the pure and heroic face of Harvey Dent gets deformed in the end, through Joker’s games, the city of Gotham is distorted into a doubled nature.
Finally, the same-faced coin of Harvey Dent becomes a great metaphor for her future situation. Before Joker’s game with Dent and Rachel, Dent has a coin that has the same face on both sides, which creates 100% luck for him in all conditions. This pure luck that the coin creates corresponds with the pure and heroic attributes of Dent before Joker’s game. However, after Joker plays his game, and Dent’s face is deformed, the coin also gets deformed, where one side gets scarred. In this case, Harvey Dent cannot create pure luck, and just like his face, his tool of luck becomes doubled in nature.