Concern Over “The Joker”
Many of you might remember the mass shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Seven years later, The Joker is opening this weekend with additional law enforcement to be in attendance at screenings in New York and Los Angeles. All of this comes with raising concern over the new film starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. The film follows the origins of the infamous Batman villain, The Joker, as he navigates a tough upbringing, a mental illness, and failure to be a successful comedian. Upon being released from a mental institution, Arthur discovers that violence makes him happy, resulting in a very dark and violent plot.
Since the movie premiered, the violent acts of Arthur are hitting too close to home for many critics and families. A character who lashes out because he feels like his life isn’t enough sounds a little too familiar to acts of violence that occur in the US daily. The biggest concern is that viewers in similar situations might feel inspired to act out like Arthur. Family members of those who were killed in the 2012 shooting have already written to Warner Brothers about how they should use their platform to fight gun violence.
In response, Warner Brothers notes that this movie is in no way endorsing real world violence. Adding on to that, film director, Todd Phillips, wants viewers to form opinions on the movie after seeing it. “I mean, it’s a complicated movie and I’ve said it before, I think it’s OK that it’s complicated,” he said regarding the debate over the film at a Q&A. Watch The Joker this weekend and decide how you feel about the controversy.
By Sonja Grunfeld
Photo Courtesy of Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.