"As you’re watching him, you can’t help wondering how badly he messed himself up in order to play the role this way. His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss... Scarier than what the Joker does to anyone onscreen is what Ledger must have been doing to himself — trying to find the center of a character without a dream of one"I fear we've got a lot more of this stuff coming our way. Let's be clear: Ledger did not die for his art. He died of acute intoxication from the effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. None of them lethal on their own but dangerous when combined. In other words, an overdose of the most heartbreakingly mundane kind: on prescription painkillers, by accident. Please spare us the critical rhapsodies about his "scary", "heroic", "unsettling" tap dances on the edge of the abyss.
— the two Davids (Denby and Edelstein), on Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight