The decision of the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) to issue a "12A" rating to The Dark Knight that allows it to be seen by children 12 and under if accompanied by a parent has been denounced by members of both the Conservative and Labor parties. Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith wrote that he was "astonished" by the "relentlessly violent" nature of the film when he went to see it with his 15-year-old daughter. "Unlike past Batman films, where the villains were somewhat surreal and comical figures, Heath Ledger's Joker is a brilliantly acted but very credible psychopathic killer, who extols the use of knives to kill and disfigure his victims during a reign of urban terrorism laced with torture," he remarked. Labor MP Keith Vaz, commented, "The BBFC should realize there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter." But Sue Clark, a spokeswoman for the BBFC, responded that the film was "a fantasy movie with only implied violence." She added that if the board had raised the classification, "We would have ended up with far more complaints from people who wanted to see the film and couldn't."
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