Just a few months ago, Todd Phillips’ film Joker was hit with lots of backlash due to its intense, graphic scenes of violence(specifically gun violence) and the accompanying fear that it would inspire others to commit these same acts of violence in their own lives. A lot of the criticism stemmed from the film’s association with the 2012 Colorado shooting massacre, when James E. Holmes, identifying himself as the “Joker”, shot 82 people, killing 12, in the audience of a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.
Filmmakers ensured worrisome viewers that their movie has nothing to do with the ongoing global debate regarding gun violence, and Joker should be viewed accordingly. Joker producer Michael Uslan stated “The Joker movie, Todd Phillips’s vision for it, is so different. Nobody’s ever seen a comic-book movie like this before. I’m sure there will be people who love it and people that hate it. But it’s like watching a Martin Scorsese, lower-budget crime drama. It is going to be a very unique experience.”
I think his description was right on point. Everyone who’s seen the film could give their individual description of their feelings after seeing it, but I think most would revolve around the words “weird” or “unsettled”. The experience is a strange one, portraying this widely-hated villain as a victim, forcing anyone with morals to sympathize with him. On another level, the Joker’s situation could be related to real life, displaying the possible backgrounds that “villains” in our society could have come from. This may feel wrong to a lot of people, who were always taught to fight the bad guy and stick up for the good ones.
Here we are, three months since the release and Joker currently tops Oscar nominations with 11. The categories include:
-Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix)
-Best Original Music Score
-Best Director (Todd Phillips)
-Best Adapted Screenplay
-Best Cinematography (Lawrence Sher)
-Best Sound Mixing (Dean A. Zupancic)
-Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges)
-Best Sound Editing (Alan Robert Murray)
-Best Film Editing (Jeff Groth)
-Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Nicki Ledermann)
Whether you think the film is controversial or not, Joker is clearly worth the watch, and in my opinion, it’s brilliant.