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Joker, the Fuzz and Why...

Updated on October 25, 2019

Let´s start with the artistic merit of the film. I fell for my desires and went to the cinema these days and saw the movie Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. It was decent, nothing new or out of the ordinary except that the performance of Phoenix was almost exceptional; a fine job.

I say almost because I believe that a character as conflicted as The Joker can sell itself on its own. Every actor that has portrayed The Joker has done a good job at it, putting a stamp on it so to speak. That being said, it would be a shame to talk about an Oscar for this performance, as Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto pretty much nailed it as The Joker too, albeit with less hype. It could be that if any of them had made a stand alone movie of this character things might have worked out quite differently.

On another thought, Phoenix´s performance could land him an Oscar. If it happens we should be prepared for what Hollywood has for us. Think the film industry is saturated with comics? Think again. Things change, times change and maybe I´m too old for this era of movies but come on…I enjoy Aquaman and Black Panther but I´d like to see more than comics in the movies. I can´t remember the last time that I saw something new, original and compelling in a cinema. We´ll have to wait and see.

So far so good. Joker has a dark tone (as every Batman film) and since he´s a villain we can´t expect nothing less. However, here comes what I find funny in the critics of this work which, in my view, are blowing things way out of proportion. I completely stand by the film in the way that it was made and portrayed.

Todd Phillips, the director, has been criticized, a lot, by his vision on the character´s beginnings and his surroundings. Some critics are outraged by the possibility that someone like The Joker could have been driven by the society in which he lived to be the madman we all know. I wonder: Is there any other way to become a madman? Are we born sociopaths or psychopaths? Let´s make an experiment and imagine that we could swap Bruce Wayne for Arthur Fleck and the events in which they grew up. Could Bruce Wayne become Batman growing up in Arthur Fleck´s place? If I had to guess I would say no. The Joker clearly can´t be defended for his actions or choices but society (as far as the film is concerned) is also responsible and that´s a good point to make.

If you´re thinking: well, society also treats me like shit and I´m not like The Joker, I have two things to say…First: we´re talking about a movie. Second: (SPOILER ALERT) In the movie, in a coherent turn of events, society rises against what they perceive as a world of injustice and actually sides with The Joker and embrace him as their hero. This has got nothing to do with capitalism. It only means that Joker is not the only madman and once we start taking justice into our own hands the thin red line starts to disappear and we are not innocent anymore. Society is part of the problem.

Even so, we´re not stupid. But critics believe we are. I even read an article that said something like this: the film is dangerous because it could trigger some Joker like events…some people might think that: finally! I´m being understood…and then they will go out and shoot people (I´ll try to find it and post it). In today´s world we don´t need Joker for that. What difference will Joker make as a film on this? Not one.

It´s just a film, it´s entertaining. If some people think that its influence will be too much to bear…well then…what´s this world gone into? Do we hate to think? Shall we call Tipper Gore to do her bullshit again? I´m so glad that Frank Zappa and Christopher Hitchens are not with us. Some of the few real defenders of intellectual freedom. What a shame it would be for them to see this.

We are not sheep but we need to show it. Otherwise, what´s the point? Stand for what you believe (Not talking about religion, which is a private thing) I, for once, may not share what you believe but I´ll fight on your side for your right to believe it. If we don´t we might as well prepare for the coming of a Big Brother government and start to act zombie like. This is just the beginning.

© 2019 Ayari Porras

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