Joaquin Phoenix stars in Joker.
FPI / October 3, 2019
Joker, which chronicles the descent into madness of Batman’s nemesis, will open amid controversy on Oct.4.
Leftists say the fictional film, starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, is “dangerous.” Many in the woke, politically correct crowd say the film is sympathetic to a murderous villain and could inspire real-life violence.
The families of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting, where a gunman opened fire on a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, wrote a letter to Warner Bros. saying: “We’re calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.”
Warner Bros. issued a response to the letter, saying: “Make no mistake: Neither the fictional character Joker nor the film is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind.”
Phillips, who directed The Hangover series of comedies, said in an interview for the November issue of Vanity Fair that he decided to take a comic book movie and “turn it on its head” after “woke culture” killed comedy.
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the f***ing funny guys are like, ‘F**k this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’
“It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter,” Phillips said. “You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies — I think that what comedies in general all have in common — is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but f**k comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
Phillips said Joker “makes statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world. I think people can handle that message. To me, art can be complicated and oftentimes art is meant to be complicated.”
Phillips added: “There’s been so much conversation around the movie by people who haven’t seen the movie; thinkpieces written by people who say, ‘I haven’t seen the movie. I’m not going to see the movie. I don’t need to see the movie.’ And then they write two pages about the movie. I don’t know that it’s hurt the movie. It probably has helped and it’s good to have people talking.”
It was reported that Phoenix walked out of an interview with The Telegraph when he was asked for his thoughts on whether particular scenes in Joker could inspire real-life acts of violence.
Phoenix told the Associated Press: “If you don’t know the difference between right and wrong, then there are all sorts of things that you are going to interpret in the way that you want. I just hope people see it and take it as a movie.”
A Twitter user summed up the controversy: “Woke twitter is calling The Joker trailers "Incel Terrorist the Movie." Bluechecks are paranoid every "mediocre white dude" is going to become a mass murderer after watching a comicbook movie. 2019 SJW's have become the paranoid church ladies from the 1990's.”
Free Press International