Joaquin Phoenix is glad there’s such an outcry against his Joker
Undeniably, even before its wider theatrical release, Joker has become a highly controversial film. Amidst the problematic gun crime issues in the US, Joker is worryingly close to becoming a sympathetic film to the people capable of such violence. Many out there fear the cathartic Arthur Fleck transitioning into the Clown Prince of Crime will trigger isolated people in the real world, similar to Fleck, to violently lash out as he does in the movie.
Joaquin Phoenix, the star of the film, does not have this fear, in fact he has optimism and is glad people are talking.
Beyond just speculative US citizens, the US Army and FBI have stepped in to tell US servicemen watching the film near release to be vigilant of possible shootings as several discussions of such were found deep within the internet by the FBI.
Ask Phoenix about such issues, and he’ll walk out of your interview, refusing to acknowledge the possibility this film could lead to violence. Talking to Vanity Fair recently, Phoenix dubs Joker as “a difficult film” and that “In some ways, it’s good that people are having a strong reaction to it.”
“There’s so many different ways of looking at it,” Phoenix says of the Arthur Fleck/Joker character. “You can either say here’s somebody who, like everybody, needed to be heard and understood and to have a voice. Or you can say this is somebody that disproportionately needs a large quantity of people to be fixated on him. His satisfaction comes as he stands in amongst the madness.”
The film’s director, Todd Phillips, holds a similar sentiment. Going on record as saying it is not a political film and it is largely about “a lack of empathy”, which was a prevalent issue when writing for the film began two years ago.
Joker hits screens worldwide on October 4.