15The Pencil Trick In The Dark Knight
This is the moment when it becomes immediately clear that audiences have no idea what to expect from this incarnation of The Joker. After The Dark Knight opening shows off his ruthless planning skills, this is our proper introduction to the character.
The scene hinges on Ledger’s chaotic, devil-may-care performance. When he
simply states “how about a magic trick?” it knocks the audience for a loop. The best thing about this moment, though, is that we don’t actually see anything happen.
The concept of the gag is disturbing enough that we don’t need to actually see it displayed. The pencil is upright on the table, then the face is slammed down onto it and when he falls to the floor, the pencil is gone. It’s all right there and it’s gross enough without showing a single drop of blood.