15 October 2019
(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
On Oct.4, audiences piled into theaters around the country to see Todd Philips’ highly anticipated comic book adaptation “Joker.” From trailers to early movie reviews, it is not hard to see that this version of the classic character would be portrayed like never before.
Color pallet, tone, and content are all much darker than your average comic book flic. The film takes a stab among few other Joker origin stories, to show audiences how the monster was created. In this version Arthur Fleck (soon to be Joker), is a man struggling with real world issues like mental illness, poverty and pursuing a career later in life.
However, even knowing this ahead of time, the film is facing some intense backlash. Some viewers believe that the situations portrayed in the film were not only hard to watch but potentially went too far. Others even say that the movie may incite violence and inspire copycat killers. Many have gone as far as protesting the release of the film.
I saw the film in its opening week, and yes, it is very dark.
If you have seen the Rupert Wyatt 2011 adaptation of “The Planet of the Apes” you know that the last 45 minutes is incredibly hard to watch. You see the apes getting mistreated and, ultimately, you leave feeling a bit unsettled. Through the gruesome imagery the director makes an important commentary about animal abuse.
“Joker” uses the same tactics. It shows Arthur Fleck being abused, mistreated and forgotten. It displays some real-world repercussions of these things when paired with a mental illness and lack of support. Granted, many of the scenarios are dramatized (because well, duh, it is a movie), but there is a clear commentary here.
If you are not seeing it, it is because you are not looking or just do not want to. If it makes you mad, great. It should. But the violence is the least you should be concerned about. The way that Arthur gets treated throughout the film should piss you off. The way that his mental illness is received by the people around him should piss you off.
Finally—and this is the big one—it is a movie about a killer clown. Again, a clown that kills people. Plain and simple. If you went into this movie thinking it would end with Batman and Joker skipping into the Gotham sunset and sharing a parfait, you were wrong..
Before you jump on the bandwagon of people who just want to be mad: do not. I totally understand not wanting to see this movie. I really do. It is not a fun movie to watch, but you leave with more than you came with.