Would you think I was a freak if I told you that I’ve seen the movie “Joker” twice within a week?
I know this is a very controversial movie, and the audiences have divided opinions on the film.
I think it is the most innovate superhero movie since the Dark Knight. Great performance and impressive filmmaking.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck/Joker in the film. Heath Ledger is iconic, but Joaquin Phoenix can be side by side with what Ledger did. I used to think that no one could outdo his performance. Joaquin Phoenix proved me wrong by playing the character in his own unique way and he just grabs my attention to the screen at all times.
While going through Arthur’s traumatic life, you continually feel sympathy for him. But when you see the growing darkness behind his eyes, you no longer feel bad for him; you gradually start to get scared of him. His performance truly deserves an Oscar Nomination.
Todd Philips, the director of the film, brilliantly shows gradual development in the character who chooses violence over grief and sadness. It’s a very realistic character study where it describes how somebody loses the mind and turns ruthless. The cinematography, the color, the shots, the music, everything is just so well played and turns out to be gorgeous. I was constantly haunted by the film.
However, a friend of mine dislikes it intensely, she thinks that the film is not only strange and depressing but also glorifies and encourages violence. She says the movie makes you feel sympathy for this evil character and it is dangerous for the reason that it might draw people to side with him when he does horrible things. She is very sure that it will have an effect on some sociopath and inspire more violence and mass shooting in today’s gun violence climate. This type of movie should be banned, she said.
These are valid concerns. But I don’t think it condones violence, it portrays that we have to be careful because this could be how things ends up from a smaller and larger assessment. From the individual perspective, the movie depicts how someone gets mentally ill caused by lack of love, childhood trauma, immense isolation and end up with evil choices. From the larger standpoint, it prevails current obsession with media and content consumption. It shows how we as a society fails people like Joker. Towards the end of the movie, “Clown mask killer” media coverage receives increased attention from the public and eventually it pushes Arthur to believe that he is a social hero and symbol of movement. If there were no such attention on him, he would have been just a troubled loner otherwise engaging in his own life happenings. Joker is only created with a massive help from the media and it helped spread his madness. I see so many similar incidents nowadays, where we are making stupid people famous through social media.
Artistically, that is the Joker character, what else do you expect from him, he is a schizophrenic mass murderer. Joker thinks the world is hilariously tragic and everyone is hypocritical and uses violence to point that out. I have to admit that some of the scenes, especially the crime scenes are not easy to watch. But what can I say, there are many blockbuster movies which contain horrifying crime scenes but are still acceptable to the wider public; Wolverine, Tarantino films etc.
But in my friend’s defense, I wouldn’t suggest this movie to those who can’t take dark & heavy movies, because it can be emotionally daunting and might disturb you for some time.
Overall, there are not many movies which makes you think of your own values and your reaction to what you are seeing on the screen. This is not an easy movie in regard to its moral question, what it tries to say, it asks questions that are harsh and difficult to process, it makes you think about what role as a society do we play on creating someone like the joker. I think this is why it is a largely controversial film.
Another friend of mine falls into the undecided section. He wasn’t sure if he likes the movie or not. He just ends up being confused and burned out.
What category are you in? Love it? Hate it? or Undecided?