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Here's another aspect from The Dark Knight Rises that I was confused about (at the risk of getting overly picky).

During the course of the film, the Gotham PD is trapped by Bane underground, and it is up to Blake to keep them informed via numerous cut scenes of him threading fishing lines down storm drains.

  • How long were the cops down there? 5 months?

  • How many cops were there? I thought I heard 3000, but that number seems a bit excessive - that said, it was made clear that the entire dept was down there on their 'training exercise'.

  • Never mind the fact they all emerged clean-shaven, what did they live on down there?

  • Also, is there any logical explanation why Bane did not just kill them all when they were trapped? They could have been crushed, incinerated or gassed - all methods were well within Bane's means.

There is a very good chance that I am not recalling specifics from the film very clearly, however, this is a huge murky area and I would welcome a little clarification.

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keeping cops alive doesn't make sense as does keeping Bruce alive. My biggest doubt since i saw the movie was why would every cop in the city go down into the tunnels. – Dredd Jul 25 '12 at 20:23

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I do remember several scenes (quick ones) and off-the cuff explanations that they were receiving supplies through the man-hole that Blake's partner emerges out of near the climax as well as through the destroyed football stadium (at one point you see a whole pallet of supplies being hoisted down from...somewhere).

While vague, the audience is expected to assume the supplies they were receiving were enough not only for the citizens of Gotham, but enough to deposit down to the police's prison underground, allowing them proper sustenance.

The only logical explanation that Bane kept them alive aside from arrogance that no one would attempt to free them; is for Bruce or even Gordon to know the full extent of their failure to the city, having the police suffer down in the confined depths. If memory serves, however, Bruce doesn't know about the plot to trap the police until he finally returns to the city, so it is more likely this is Gordon's punishment.

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I think I woudl also chalk it up to the whole hope aspect. – DForck42 Jul 25 '12 at 18:34

It might be an attempt to humiliate them: it seemed to me that Bane tried to reverse everything(the rich living on the streets, the righteous being judged).

So in this situation, having the police trapped in a hole(maybe analogy to the "hole"/isolation where prisoners are sent for very bad behavior) and fed by the prisoners, might make sense. This would also explain why they were shaven: they were offered the same treatment criminals in a prison would get.

Still, killing all the policemen at once(crushed like bugs) would have been, in my opinion more tragic and a lot safer for him.

But, as we have seen, Bane has a sense of drama, all his actions have to be somehow theatrical(he only blows up the stadium after the anthem is sung, keeps the bomb in a truck and has it driving through the whole city, in order to remind the people of his power and the examples could go on), so aspects like safety or big sudden tragedies are not very familiar to Bane. He said it himself that he finds it more enjoyable to let the people have a hope and then crush it, repeating the process until the citizens are truly broken(the same strategy is he trying to apply to Batman).

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Their survival is covered in the film's screenplay. In short, Bane is feeding them.

INT. SEWERS – DAY 207 Hundreds of Police living underground. Dividing up supplies lowered by ropes … Ross opens a pack of supplies.

BANE: (voice-over) But the police will live, until they are ready to serve true justice …

There's also a brief mention in the novelisation about them surviving on "vermin and scraps"

Blake hoped Ross and the other entombed cops were collecting the icy water. Nearly three months had passed since Bane had sprung his trap, and the buried officers had been living on scraps and captured vermin ever since. It was a wonder that the buried officers hadn’t yet completely given up hope.

As to the numbers, it was certainly into the thousands, according to the script and script notes:

REPORTER: We’re seeing literally thousands of police heading into the sewers –


SWATs react – the tunnel roof behind collapses … Chunks of concrete structure drop – thousands of police throughout different tunnels are trapped …

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Exactly my first thought, but there is a problem: we know that Bane never intended the city to survive. As he explains to Bruce: "I learned here there can be no true despair without hope. So as I terrorize Gotham, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe that they can survive, so that you can watch them clambering over each other to stay in the sun". In that context, leaving the police alive makes no sense to me, at least not to make them "serve true justice" in future. – Vedran Šego Nov 14 at 18:26
@VedranŠego - My take was that Bane's ideal goal was to subjugate the city, rather than destroying it. – Richard Nov 14 at 18:37
To continue the quote above: "...and then when you truly understand the depth of your failure, we will fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's destiny. We will destroy Gotham". I don't see a hint of that "ideal goal". Sure, he might have lied to Bruce, but there is really no indication that Bane and Talia planned anything but the destruction of Gotham. – Vedran Šego Nov 14 at 18:43
@VedranŠego - I can't justify it, so I've removed it. I'm tempted to ask it as a new question though :-) – Richard Nov 14 at 19:05

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