Joker is no joke
Disclaimer: violent/disturbing topics
Joker premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019. It won the Golden Lion award, which is the highest award a film can receive. It was released in the United States on October 4th. As of this writing, it has brought in more than $90 million dollars. “I’m too young to see it, but it looked really good,” said Nathan Eichhorn ‘25.
The movie follows failed comedian Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Arthur lives in Gotham City while taking care of his sick mother. Arthur struggles with a disease that makes him uncontrollably laugh in random situations. Arthur works as a clown to support his mother. One day he’s mugged while working, so one of his coworkers gives him a gun to protect himself. While working at a children’s hospital, Arthur’s gun slips out and he gets fired. While on the train, still in his costume, three men assault Arthur, causing him to kill two in self-defense, and murder the other. These murders spark tremendous outrage in Gotham and divide the city. Arthur relied on medication from social services but was taken off of it due to a lack of funding. This causes even more of a spiral for Arthur. He completely imagines a fake relationship with his neighbor while his mother is sick. After one of his comedy shows went bad, he was asked to appear on the Murray Franklin show to be made fun of. Before he went on the show, he killed one of his coworkers, in a very disturbing scene. He is introduced as “Joker,” wearing a clown suit with green hair and face paint. He speaks about being an outcast and how rich people are evil and careless, before shooting the host on the air. Responses to “Joker” have varied. There have been many news articles about the movie promoting violence.
Some say the movie normalizes diseases that lead to mass shootings. Nikel Martinez ‘21 thought otherwise and said, “It showcased an interesting spotlight on themes not explored frequently in those movies such as mental illness, trauma, and deranged villainy.” The movie also prompted an FBI investigation due to theatre shooting threats. Fellow Whitney Young student Emily Servin ‘21 said, “Even though it was quite violent, the way it showcased a villain was like nothing I’ve seen before.” Just like Emily, I believe “Joker” was a great movie, despite the violence, and I highly recommend it.