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There is a scene (that I can't find) where Fox and Wayne were talking about something in the hideout, and the local translation doesn't make much sense, so I'm wondering what they said.

The scene is after Coleman Reese was trying to blackmail Fox in relation to Bruce Wayne being Batman. The lines of dialogue are more or less like this:

Fox: Did you change an entire division of applicated science?

Wayne: Yes.

Fox: I didn't know we have a contract with the government to make telephones.

Wayne: Lucius, I need to do this as covered as I can.

Fox: Well.

So, I don't get the idea and the meaning. What do they say in English?

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    Out of curiosity, what is the native language you found this mistranslation in?
    – krillgar
    Nov 3, 2021 at 19:54
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    Well, to be fair I didn't watch in my native language, I saw a latin spanish dubbed version, and double checked the meaning in spanish and indeed does not fit well the plot of the movie. Im looking for another issues in the movie.
    – riccs_0x
    Nov 3, 2021 at 20:30
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    Thanks. I was just curious. That is a really poor translation.
    – krillgar
    Nov 4, 2021 at 12:07
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    I originally read the title as "conversation between Lucius Malfoy and Bruce Wayne," and my initial thought was, "I don't remember Lucius Malfoy making an appearance in The Dark Knight!"
    – Deacon
    Nov 4, 2021 at 14:05
  • Ha, yeah, I read sometimes wrongm but Malfoy , who is it? ha,
    – riccs_0x
    Nov 4, 2021 at 17:36

3 Answers 3

51

To put that scene in its proper context, you need to take into account two other scenes in the film.

The first scene is this one from about 33 minutes into the runtime, where Fox explains to Wayne that he's developed a technology which makes it possible to map the layout of an environment, using sonar emitted from a cell phone located within that environment.

WAYNE: What's this?

FOX: I had R&D work it up. Sends out a high-frequency pulse... records the response time for mapping an environment.

WAYNE: Sonar. Just like a....

FOX: Submarine, Mr. Wayne. Like a submarine.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The second scene is this one from around 1 hour and 55 minutes into the runtime, where Fox discovers that Wayne has taken this technology and applied it to every cell phone in Gotham, without his knowledge.

BATMAN: Beautiful, isn't it?

FOX: Beautiful. Unethical. Dangerous. You've turned every cell phone in Gotham into a microphone.

BATMAN: And a high-frequency generator-receiver.

FOX: You took my sonar concept and applied it to every phone in the city. With half the city feeding you sonar, you can image all of Gotham.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The scene you're referring to occurs in-between those two other scenes, at about 59 minutes into the runtime.

FOX: Mr. Wayne, did you reassign R&D?

WAYNE: Yeah. Government telecommunications project.

FOX: I wasn't aware we had any government contracts.

WAYNE: Lucius, I'm playing this one pretty close to the chest.

FOX: Fair enough.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Fox has evidently discovered that the R&D department of Wayne Enterprises is working on something he doesn't know about, and wants to know what's going on.

Wayne gives him the vague answer that it's a "government telecommunications project", and says he's "playing this one pretty close to the chest" -- a reference to holding your cards close to your chest in a poker game, so no one else can see what cards you have -- indicating that that he doesn't wish to elaborate any further. Fox accepts this, because Wayne is his boss, but the screenplay notes that he's "troubled" and "uneasy" during this scene.

In reality, Wayne almost certainly had R&D working on scaling up the sonar mapping tech, but he didn't want to tell Fox about that yet, because he knew Fox would be opposed to it on ethical grounds.

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    That explain the face of Fox at the end of the scene. The local dub in this part makes no sense, and perhaps there are other errors of adaptation. Indeed Fox would never allowed it.
    – riccs_0x
    Nov 2, 2021 at 5:51
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    Luckily Fox's is just one of the screeching voices of the minority
    – Andreas
    Nov 3, 2021 at 14:45
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    @Andreas This does not make sense in context.... Fox gets the control over this system later in the movie and is also handed the "self-destruct" button, BECAUSE he will do the right thing.
    – Kami Kaze
    Nov 4, 2021 at 8:37
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    @KamiKaze I think it makes sense, and I dont see an argument to the contrary. Maybe your argument would've been stronger if it didn't merely emphasize which side Fox is on, thereby underlining the point of the satire. But, as they say, explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog — no one's that interested, and the frog dies.
    – Andreas
    Nov 4, 2021 at 18:24
  • @Andreas In this case it totally went over my head that this is supposed to be a joke. I was reading it as bitter social commentary. Guess the internet ruined me....
    – Kami Kaze
    Nov 5, 2021 at 8:20
7

From the script:

FOX: Mr. Wayne, did you reassign R and D?

WAYNE: Yes. Government telecommunications project.

FOX: I wasn't aware we had any new government contracts. Can you-

WAYNE: Lucius. I'm playing this one pretty close to the chest.

FOX: Fair enough .

And the meaning is, they were discussing WayneTech staff being assigned to make stuff for Batman, with a cover story that they are making telecoms stuff for the Government.

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FOX: Mr. Wayne, did you reassign R and D?

WAYNE: Yes. Government telecommunications project.

FOX: I wasn't aware we had any new government contracts. Can you-

WAYNE: Lucius. I'm playing this one pretty close to the chest.

FOX: Fair enough.

The significance of the moment is that this abnormal accounting transaction is later detected by Coleman Reese who uses the anomaly to identify Wayne Enterprises Batmobile blueprint drafts and begin trying to blackmail Batman.

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    As stated in the question, the blackmail scene with Coleman Reese occurs just before the scene you're quoting. This scene is clearly alluding to a secret Wayne is keeping from Fox, who already knows he's Batman. Nov 4, 2021 at 3:29

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