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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) => Topic started by: FLYmeatwad on October 05, 2019, 03:58:43 PM

Title: Joker
Post by: FLYmeatwad on October 05, 2019, 03:58:43 PM
Am I the only one crazed enough to go see this sucker? Definitely peak Frat Boy Cinema, and, as such, I loved that aspect because it's all the best and worst parts of #FBC in one film. My theater seemed pretty divided on reactions coming out, which surprised me since I didn't think TP had it in him to make anything besides the most generic shit. But, you know what? I didn't completely hate War Dogs either, though think that was more because of the lead actors since the film itself wasn't that great. Guess that's the case here too, and damn if the score isn't a CINECAST!ing chore. Still, JP is a god, and the reveal at the end of it theoretically all just being a story that Arthur/Joker tells, without probably sacrificing the character work beforehand, is also the most ridiculous play to #FBC that could have been made. I need to start #FBC: The Podcast just to get to this at some point, because it's all there. The male rage, the Big Ideas that can so easily be interpreted incorrectly by the audience or the film itself, the hyperviolence, the silly mind CINECAST! reveals.

Wonder if JP sticks around for the new Batmen. Were it FLY, he'd allow R Pats to do his thang in the first one, tease JP at the end or a post-credits stinger ala BB (fitting in with TP's worship of #FBC idols without really 'getting it'), and then let that second one be their first encounter. But guess they maybe just toss him in that Batman since Joker seems to have at least started off with a bang in terms of how much money it pulled in, I suppose.

Also, might just be FLY, but you take this thing out of the 70's/80's/90's and put it in a modern context, I think that stand up routine could definitely work in the anti-comedy movement, and seems more appealing to me than actual stand up, which is largely the worst.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on October 25, 2019, 04:18:55 PM
It has been a long time since I have walked out of a movie wondering what was real and what was in the characters head. The last time would be Total Recall.

During the movie we already had evidence that things we were shown had not happened (his 'girlfriend'), and things that are suspect (the first time he is on the talk show where he is an audience member), and the end scene suggests what we have just seen was Joker telling the woman a story, which given this is the Joker makes this all suspect.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Teproc on October 25, 2019, 05:25:56 PM
That aspect was probably the most infuriating thing of all to me. Everything may or may not be real, but why should I care ?
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on October 26, 2019, 05:04:30 AM
I find it a wonderful thing as it gives me reason to wonder, what was unreliable narrator and what was real. I can understand that it can be frustrating, but I enjoy the doubt. Why should you care... the story has been interesting, the story has been disturbing, the story has neatly woven into the main points of the various batman universes, the story has been a little meta (De Niro as the talk show host), the story continues the fogginess of the Jokers origin.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Teproc on October 26, 2019, 05:09:57 AM
I think the difference is I find the character work on Phoenix's Joker to be so inconsistent and evasive that it feels more like an out to justify bad writing than a reason to wonder. It all comes down to "but he's crazy" in the end. His cold-blooded murder of the third guy in the metro isn't the act of someone who's fed up with society putting him down or income/social inequality ("I'm apolitical"), it's the act of a psychopath off his meds, and I think the message that sends re: mental health is pretty despicable. Or is it, because it might not be real ? It's irresponsible is what it is.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on October 26, 2019, 07:50:05 AM
I read an opinion piece (found here ( today by a psychiatrist and it has a different view of the depiction of mental illness.

An early quote from the article
The film poses an important question vocalised in no uncertain terms by the Joker at its climax. "What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? ... You get what you f---iní deserve," he proclaims as he murders the talk show host before him.

Although this response and the violence in the scene are vicious, it is a stark metaphor for the disastrous consequences that can arise if we do not give mental illness the importance it deserves.

The whole piece is worth a read.

As for the inconsistent and evasive character work, that is the Joker. Heath Ledgers Joker was the same, there was no consistent origin story he told, when pressed he turns things around and makes it about the person pressing him. It is the character's inconsistency and evasiveness that makes him so hard to pin down, and so hard to stop. He is a slippery eel. Even when his plans fail he moves on, it does not appear to affect him, because there is alway more chaos to engender.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Teproc on October 26, 2019, 08:30:12 AM
Ledger's Joker is chaos personified. I don't see that at all in Phoenix's Joker. He doesn't have the nihilistic ideology that Ledger had, his ideology is basically "woe is me". He's also the protagonist, in what is clearly a drama: his psychology is the movie, and therefore it should make some amount of sense. Consistent might not be the right word, maybe coherent is better, in terms of the writing I mean: I get that the character is unstable and therefore inconsistent. But I just don't believe in him as a character, mainly because of the writing, but maybe something is missing in Phoenix's performance as well.

I'll read that piece when I get the time, but if the point is "a mentally ill person off his meds = a dangerous killer", I don't think that's a good message to send, no. Again, the cold-blooded nature of the murder (the third guy) suggests that this is not him losing control: it's him becoming what he always was: a killer. It's deterministic. I'm guessing the psychiatrist's pov is more complex than that... I just don't believe that the movie's is.
Title: Re: Joker
Post by: Beavermoose on October 26, 2019, 10:45:09 PM
Although there is a vague association about the cause of his mental illness being related to his mother and her messed up relationship with Thomas Wayne, I wish that there has been a stronger connection between the dismissive and exploitative nature of the upper class and it's effects on the people struggling to survive. If they had removed all mention of his mental illness it would have made his descent into madness more explicitly a product of his position in society.

This is like the arguments about gun control saying that the cause of mass shootings are entirely based on the shooters having mental illness while dismissing external factors like isolation, poverty, lack of education, and other elements caused by societal injustices.