Archive for October, 2019|Monthly archive page

Joker–What Have We Learned? (A Film Review)

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2019 at 23:12

joker-joaquin-phoenix-1screengeekJoker from ScreenGeeks.

Joker is written by Scott Silver and Todd Phillips and directed by Phillips. The film presents the Batman and Joker story from the Joker’s mentally-ill perspective. 

There are various ways to look at the film. 1. The power elite ignore the poor and things are going to erupt. 2. A mentally ill man starts a riot. And 3. Poor incel white man does not get his way so he kills people. View #3 is myopic and completely off the mark. 

To call Joker a film about an out of touch, self-pitying white man is to miss the point. There is nothing about race or sexuality in the film and the main character happens to be white. And insane. The only people who would call Joker an incel fantasy haven’t seen the film, don’t know what incel is, call every lonely white guy an incel, or is an actual incel looking for a film to rally around. By the way, one can sympathize with Joker without empathizing with him.

The Joker is a misanthropic sociopath, period. He hates, and will kill, anyone who confronts him, like the six white guys he kills in the film. (And yes, he does kill a black woman councilor in the film as well). He’s such a lost incel that he doesn’t even know he’s supposed to kill only minorities and women. The incel accusation is ridiculous. People call him an incel because he’s a loner? Really? And the “rejection” he was supposed to have experience in the film? That was a fantasy dating scenario that never happens. Watch the film if you want to criticize it. 

Let’s say Joker and his followers mirror Trump (though many Latinos and blacks are rioting along with the whites). Shouldn’t we try to help the people instead of cutting their services and mocking them. Remember Hilary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables?” How many votes did that gain her? It lost her votes, even from progressives who wanted her to succeed. I’m not saying coddle white nationalists, something Joker is not. 

Robert De Niro is great in Joker as a smarmy, smart-aleck talk show host, a cross between Carson and Jeff Ross. The actresses who play Joker’s mother (Frances Conroy) and neighbor (Zazie Beetz) do well in the film. The police going after him are a bit cartoonish, but not too bad. In all, the cast is excellent.

Joaquin Phoenix is great and deserves awards. As a manic depressive with antisocial personality, a sociopath, you never know how he is going to react to stressors or whether what is happening is real. And he reacts in a multitude of ways, all believable if often surreal.  

The film looks good. The gritty, dark alleys and run-down streets and apartment buildings match the action well. And the subway is given an exaggerate 1970s hell-scape visage, just the place for a Joker to be born. 

The plot has some holes and is unrealistic at times. However, the surreal tone of the movie allows for some unreal action. 

All the talk of incels, an important but here misused framing device, hides the true theme of Joker: class. The Joker becomes and unwitting symbol of the poor in the fight against the rich, the rich who defend a system that keeps so many poor. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden recently said he wouldn’t be “demonizing the rich.” And people are spreading lie that the rich are under attack. What Joker does is present an alternative version of saluting and defending the rich, one where Thomas Wayne is shown exploiting and manipulating his position through lies and usury. Wayne is the real societal villain in Joker. 

The Joker is by no means a hero. People will go mad during hard times, and some will rebel. That is what the Waynes, and the Trumps and Clintons, of the world fear. 

Rating: Pay full price. If you want to fully understand it to criticize it, go see Joker. You might be surprised. 

Tex Shelters