October 6, 2019

"'Joker' reflects political cowardice on the part of a filmmaker, and perhaps of a studio, in emptying out the specifics of the city’s modern history and current American politics so that the movie can be released as mere entertainment to viewers who are exasperated with the idea of movies being discussed in political terms—i.e., to Republicans...."

"[T]he movie plays into the hands of current-day political rhetoric—namely, the emphasis by Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone. In the wake of Arthur’s killing spree, a public figure—Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), a wealthy banker for whom Penny worked decades earlier, and who, of course, is the father of a boy named Bruce—speaks of killers such as Arthur as 'clowns.' This comment gives rise to a sudden mass movement of activists who dress like clowns and target the rich and the powerful. The trope resembles Hillary Clinton’s reference to many of the supporters of Donald Trump as 'deplorables,' a term that was adopted by some as a badge of honor—except in 'Joker' the epithet applies rather to radicals on the left, who loom as a menace waiting to happen...."

From "'Joker' Is a Viewing Experience of Rare, Numbing Emptiness" by Richard Brody (in The New Yorker).

Brody is bothered by the movie's "incoherence," and I think he's mostly annoyed that the comic-book material isn't organized according to a comic-book politics of right and left. He calls the movie "empty" over and over, but it seems as though he's bothered by complexity — there's too much and it's not composed in a stark, easily recognized pattern.

87 comments:

n.n said...

Hollywood goes off script. Breaking news: journalists report the news.

daskol said...

Maybe Scorsese will weigh in. Joker is DC, not Marvel, after all. Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan made excellent film from this material.

Marcus Bressler said...

I think I'll go see it this afternoon. I NEVER take professional critics seriously. When I go to Flixster to see what rating DVDs at the library got, I use the Audience score as a guide.

THEOLDMAN

Michael K said...

It's OK. I have no plans to see any of these movies. The theater complex not far from our home in Tucson had a series of classic movies last year. If they would advertise it and continue it, they might get some attendance.

donald said...

I was in Houston this week and was with a Navy buddy who is involved in the comic book world professionally. He says this is the guy’s fuck you to Hollywood and their WHOLE ENTIRE method of operation. He did the Hangover movies and has been crucified for making successful comedic movies. Guess he wasn’t joshing me huh?

Dave Begley said...

I saw the movie and I didn't like it. Yeah, I got the Deplorables reference but it was a minor part of the story.

It was slow and we watch a guy descend into madness. Very predictable. Weird and sick. I had no sympathy or empathy for Joker. I did like a couple of the scenes; especially the dance scene.

And, of course, "Frankenstein, Part II" is way better. "Joker" is no masterpiece.

Dave Begley said...

I should add after seeing "Joker" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" I remain more confident than ever in "Frankenstein, Part II" and my ability to sell it and see it made into a movie.

Or I am delusional like Joker's mother?

rcocean said...

Oh God, Richard Brody. Now, there's a one-trick Phony. Transport him back to 1939 or 1949 and he'd be writing for the Daily Worker. And has he stopped with the annoying "As a Jew...." shtick? I wouldn't know because I stopped reading him 5 years ago.

And what could be more pathetic than a grown man getting paid six figures to seriously write about comic book movies. We certainly live in rich times - if incredibly stupid ones.

MikeR said...

Wow. That review is a piece of work. This event in the movie corresponds to this event in history, except that there the perpetrators were black and these were white... On and on.
Apparently there are some black people in Gotham City, and some white people, and the reviewer is obsessed with counting them.
'But the crucial parody, the crucial mockery, the work of which “Joker” comes off as a callously commercial imitation, is “Black Panther”'. :O Uh, nice catch?
'"Joker” is an intensely racialized movie'. Or the reviewer is. Sad.

MayBee said...

I remember when happy movies were the simplistic entertainment of the red state rust belt middle American masses. Now it's dark complex movies. Things change so quickly, who can keep up?

Ken B said...

Another review that is not about the thing being reviewed. And regular readers lap it up. How many versions of “how great are we” can people read?

That was a rhetorical question.

Dave Begley said...

Doesn't one have to be insane to kill a whole bunch of people? Maybe not insane within the legal definition of insanity.

And (spoiler alert!) Joker doesn't always use a gun. He kills one guy with a knife or scissors. And there's a great Save the Cat moment right in that scene.

Dave Begley said...

Man! What an unhinged review. This guy thought the movie was all about race. It wasn't.

Glad only one black person in my script.

Dave Begley said...

Did I write that the New Yorker reviewer is unhinged? He's the crazy one.

rehajm said...

One for the good guys!!!

pchuck1966 said...

The New Yorker, is that the magazine with the unfunny cartoons?

Expat(ish) said...

Republicans pounce on hollywood?

Seems unlikely.

For many many years I wanted to make movies, or be involved in movies. When much younger, I did theater (including some paid) behind the curtain and loved it. My thought was to make enough of a nest egg to retire in the future and then go live a subsistence lifestyle in LA or on location somewhere. I spent a lot of time looking at film schools, watching documentaries about making films, etc, etc. Literally two decades of study.

I decided I love the product too much to be involved with the really really horrible people involved with making it.

This reviewer is a prime example.

-XC

PS - Some recent finds I recommend without reservation: Letter Kenny, Dark, Rain, and Dead Wind. I was completely wrong about the Netflix "local content" purchases. Treasure can be found.

sophomorecritic said...

I didn't see the film but are you serious? The film was in production well before recent current events. The filmmaker has strongly stated he just wanted to make a movie. Your job as a critic is to contextualize the film in context

Darrell said...

NYC Comicon had an Antifa panel that warned us about the White menace and what has to be done about it.

Joker is almost free of political truncheons--a Resist sign, Antifa rererence with the clown posse, and Thomas Wayne being a Trump stand in, with positive and negative attributes.

Fans want politic out of comics and all entertainment. Live with that, Richard Brody. Or join Antifa full-time.

Derek Kite said...

The Media is enthusiastically taking on the mantle of the modern Priesthood, pontificating on what is right and wrong. Another example.

This is like a Catholic priest being confused over the sexual dynamics of a couple. Way over his head, outside his narrow and parochial interest.

But he must opine nonetheless.

Seeing Red said...

When I saw one of The Joker’s trailers, I told my husband that is the best trailer I ever saw.

I was excited.

Wince said...

Althouse said...
"Brody... seems as though he's bothered by complexity — there's too much and it's not composed in a stark, easily recognized pattern."

Worse, what you see in Brody's piece is the degree to which the Hollywood left demands adherence to a particular historical narrative.

Barry Dauphin said...

The New Yorker does funny things with "empty". Do we really need "numbing" to describe empty? It's like grave danger-- is there another kind? He also uses the comparative, "The result is a movie of a cynicism so vast and pervasive as to render the viewing experience even emptier than its slapdash aesthetic does." Aren't they both just empty-- really, one is emptier than the other? I guess that means it's really empty, in case we had any lingering doubts. Doesn't that vast cynicism have something inside it? No, it's super-duper empty, not just empty in the ordinary sense.

Brody can only conceive of the movie as a New Yorker writing for the New Yorker. Sounds like Brody is out of ideas. Brody's current movie reviewing conceptual skills are even emptier than the Joker's vast cynicism, and that's saying a lot.

Yancey Ward said...

Let's talk about an incoherent review instead. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I am not going to comment on whether or not it's worth seeing, but the review tells me nothing other than the reviewer wanted it to be explicitly political and to attack the right as racists through and through.

The reviewer starts by claiming the initial attack on Arthur is an allusion to the attacks in Central Park in 1989 on the white female jogger, but I don't see that he actually supports this theory- the only similarity I see is that the attackers are young and black, and that night in Central Park some of the victims were male. Sure, the Central Park Five were eventually cleared of the rape and beating of the female jogger, but that doesn't really matter- there was still abundant evidence that they actually were involved in the other physical assaults that took place that night. Another man was eventually tied by DNA to the rape and assault on the female jogger, and he confessed in the early 2000s. Seriously, what are the writers of the movie supposed to do here- the plot device is that an assault is what sets Arthur off on the path to becoming "The Joker"- there is no room in this plot device, and no reason for it either, for a subplot where the police arrest the wrong people for assault on Arthur and sent them to prison. Even if the the reviewer is correct that this is an allusion to the Central Park Five, the other assaults did take place that night in 1989. The only way the writers could have evaded the reviewer's critique here is to have had the assault performed by a gang of white teenagers.

Now we come to the first mass shooting Arthur commits. The reviewer claims this is an allusion to Bernhard Goetz and the shooting on the subway in 1984 of 4 black teenagers. On this, the movie critic seems to be on firmer ground, but here is the thing- in the movie, Arthur shoots white teenagers. The teenagers apparently menace/assault Arthur, and he responds this time with a gun shooting all of them and pursuing the last victim onto the platform to finish him off. I take it the critic is now upset that the "victims" aren't black as in the real life story, but in the real life story, it is quite likely that Goetz was telling the truth about the boys menacing him and getting ready to rob him. It certainly has never been disproven. What is the complaint here, otherwise? Most white people who go on shooting rampages actually mostly shoot other white people- the Dylan Roofs of the world are the exceptions, not the rule.

Finally, the movie critic complains that part of "The Joker"'s problem is that he is a mentally ill person with a gun rather than a sane white guy. Most of our mass murderers are mentally ill, and it is usually demonstrated by their meticulously reconstructed past. It is usually only the ones with a political agenda that turn out to be quite sane otherwise (and I would argue the political agendas don't necessarily rule out mental illness).

I think if the initial assault in the movie had been by done by white teenagers, the movie critic would still be unhappy that the movie wasn't propagandizing for general gun control and wasn't portraying "The Joker" as a KKK member going around shooting only innocent black people. Nothing in the critique tells you anything about the quality of the story itself- only that the critic was unhappy that the movie was made specifically for progressive sensibilities.

Jeff Weimer said...

It's useless to him. It doesn't explicitly serve his preferred politics, and could be (was by him) interpreted incorrectly, and we can't have that. Everything has to serve the narrative, nothing may escape it.

tim in vermont said...

All art serves the party. Nothing outside the party. He’s a nice little totalitarian. It’s for the good of everybody!

gilbar said...

the emphasis by Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone.

Those CRAZY Republicans!
They would RATHER deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone!
HELL!
I'd Bet; Those CRAZY Republicans,
Would RATHER deny weapons to the criminal set, than restrict weaponry for everyone!

This EXPLAINS what is WRONG with CRAZY Republicans
Right? I mean, RIGHT?

Unknown said...

Perhaps Brody is confusing a coherent message with incoherence. Maybe he doesn't like the clowns because they resemble Occupy Wall Street, or Antifa.

Kevin said...

What if the public draws the wrong conclusions?

We can’t have art that requires people to think.

Ralph L said...

Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone

I think it should say "deny access." Where have all the proofreaders gone?

Narayanan said...

https://ricochet.com/684004/whos-the-joker-now/

gilbar said...

From the New Yorker review of Joker
The crime alluded to is the attack wrongly attributed to five young men mislabelled as the Central Park Five—an attack on an isolated and vulnerable white person by a group of young people of color. The scene waves away history and says, in effect, that it may not have been those five, but there was another group out there wreaking havoc



from Wiki
The report concluded that the five men whose convictions had been vacated had "most likely" participated in the beating and rape of the jogger and that the "most likely scenario" was that "both the defendants and Reyes assaulted her, perhaps successively."[76] The report said Reyes had most likely "either joined in the attack as it was ending or waited until the defendants had moved on to their next victims before descending upon her himself, raping her and inflicting upon her the brutal injuries that almost caused her death."[76]

... she was knocked down on the road, dragged into the woods, hit and molested by several defendants, sexually abused by some while others held her arms and legs, and left semiconscious in a state of undress.[76][77]


Does the Reviewer think that it DIDN'T happen?
Does the Reviewer think that because someone else's semen was found in the lady; that that means that NO ONE else attacked her? Seems like Someone is trying to wave away history, but it sounds like it's the Reviewer; not the movie

NEO-FIDO said...

I haven't had a chance to see the movie, but I've read a bit about it so far.

I think he is more troubled at the idea that nihilism also exists on the Left and that with the proper lens and manipulation, his 'side of good' is just as fraught with abuse and cultural destruction as 'those deplorable sorts'. That their philosophy does not give the Left immunity from very bad people. "Joker as Lefty Hiter" does not sit well with his subconscious.

MBunge said...

Althouse has it exactly right. The dude is aggravated the movie doesn't play to his particular political grievances, so he must dismiss it as sub-standard. Heaven forbid he acknowledge that his expectations of political correctness are dumb or that alternative views can be equal.

Mike

pacwest said...

The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

Sebastian said...

"mere entertainment to viewers who are exasperated with the idea of movies being discussed in political terms—i.e., to Republicans...."

Huh? We like the idea of movies being discussed in political terms, to lay bare the prog propaganda at work in most of them, to criticize the ideological hegemony progs mean to impose on us.

"[T]he movie plays into the hands of current-day political rhetoric—namely, the emphasis by Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone."

Yes, Republicans are odd that way, claiming a civil right for everyone that the Constitution affirms for everyone.

It's telling, isn't it, that for progs there's nothing "odd" about despising our actual rights in the actual Constitution.

elkh1 said...

"... the emphasis by Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone."

What is wrong with that, to punish the wrong doer and let law abiding citizens alone?

Does the writer want to let the mentally ill have weapons and restrict weaponry for everyone, or deny weapons to the mentally ill and deprive everyone else of their 2nd Amendment rights because a mentally ill person has committed a crime?

Derek Kite said...

I read the review, and want those 10 minutes of my life back.

It is remarkable how Brody misses the point. He talks how the character and movie are empty. How the actor and director miss opportunities to make a political point. They didn't say the right thing about gun control, they dared show someone being beaten by a bunch of black kids.

The character seems to be the epitome of self absorbed nihilism. There are a few like him around, always have been. That is the point. You either maintain a society where their worst characteristics are amplified, or you don't.

Quaestor said...

[It] seems as though he's bothered by complexity — there's too much and it's not composed in a stark, easily recognized pattern.

Is it surprising the Nooyawkah employs simpleminded film reviewers?

Yes, Joker is an empty film — empty, that is, of the sort of cultural affirmations the left has come to expect from Hollywood since Dalton Trumbo was canonized.

The Godfather said...

The author refers to "Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone." I guess I have to plead guilty to that. I guess even a "Life Long Republican" would.

Achilles said...

So many false paradigms are being jarred by new information that the holders just cannot assimilate.

Martin said...

Among other things (i.e., being a complete jerk), the "reviewer" seems utterly ignorant of how long it takes to approve, script, produce, shoot, edit, and distribute a motion picture. He expects it to be au courant plus aligned with his idiot politics of the moment.

The New Yorker never quite lived up to its reputation, but it was a decent periodical. No more.

Odi said...

I assume he had the same opinion about Taxi Driver.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

...I think he's mostly annoyed that the comic-book material isn't organized according to a comic-book politics of right and left. He calls the movie "empty" over and over, but it seems as though he's bothered by complexity — there's too much and it's not composed in a stark, easily recognized pattern.

Not complexity so much as a lack of absolutes.

Traditionally comic books were about good and evil and tended to treat good and evil as absolutes. They have become more and more politicized over the past two decades, but have never lost the tendency towards absolutism.

I haven't seen the film, but this along with other synopses leads me to believe that this film is definitely not about absolutism. The main character is ultimately formed by his experiences, which not only includes being beaten up by a group of Young Turks in suits (who work for Bruce Wayne's father), but by street punks as well. This being the case, I can seen how a good Princeton educated New Yorker like Brody would be be disturbed by the lack of absolutism.

bagoh20 said...

This is the second negative review of the movie that I have seen, and the other one had the same perspect, that the movie lacked a clear narrative, but I suspect in reality it just wasn't the right narrative.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Joker" may or may not be a good movie. But I'm almost positive that the Beta-male reviewer at The NewYorker won't help us answer this question.

Mark said...

Brody is bothered by the movie's "incoherence,"

Looks like he is more bothered by the incoherence of his own mind, even if he doesn't realize/admit it.

I'm certainly bothered by his incoherence.

Nah. No I'm not. Actually, I don't really care.

Nichevo said...


Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone.

Heretic! Unbeliever! Iniquitous be cut down!

Big Mike said...

I wonder whether Richard Brody understands yet that he Is the one on the wrong side of history?

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Forget Joker: here's the film you should see about an extremist loner
While Todd Phillips’ vacuous DC origins tale fails to go beneath its grimy surface, low-budget drama Cuck offers a braver alternative

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/oct/04/cuck-review-rob-lambert-joker

(not an endorsement--provided for explorative purposes only)

hombre said...

To the left, particularly the leftmediaswine, everything is about politics and everything non-narrative, non-Democrat, particularly Republicans, is villainous.

And everything the Professor posts from the New Yorker is over the top loony.

Brent said...

You just gave the most succinct, excellent review. Rotten Tomatoes should add you.

Btw, what's the latest in your movie challenge?

Marcus Bressler said...

Just took it in. Not that impressed by the script. Phoenix's acting saves it. DeNiro was his usually pig self. Gave it an 80%.

THEOLDMAN

tcrosse said...

“Joker” reflects political cowardice on the part of a filmmaker, and perhaps of a studio, in emptying out the specifics of the city’s modern history and current American politics so that the movie can be released as mere entertainment to viewers who are exasperated with the idea of movies being discussed in political terms—i.e., to Republicans.

Or to the huge Chinese market.

phantommut said...

Of course brody doesn't address the fact that most overtly political violence in America today comes from the Left. One of those inconvenient truths.

viator said...

Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness.
Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-speaking regions. It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Neo-Manichaeism is the predominant secular religion in the Untied states near the end of the second quarter of the 21st century.

Jupiter said...

"reflects"? I think Richard wanted to say "interrogates". It always sounded so cool in the graduate seminars when someone said something "interrogates" something else. Phylogeny interrogates ontogeny, was that it? But he was never entirely sure what sorts of things could interrogate what other sorts of things. Can a studio interrogate meaning? Or fail to do so? Or would that just mean that the studio had "informed" meaning? And would that make the studio an informer? Isn't that cowardly, to be an informer? Maybe the studio was "informed by" meaning, the pieces can go together that way as well, although it doesn't sound as edgy as "interrogates". Better just stick with "reflects", that deadline is looming, and this review is barely even started.

narciso said...

no the jokers are like black bloc anarchists, and if they can't see how irresponsible releasing this film is, then they are blind,

RichardJohnson said...

"[T]he movie plays into the hands of current-day political rhetoric—namely, the emphasis by Republicans who, when it comes to gun control, would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone.

What objection does the writer have to denying weapons to the mentally ill in lieu of restricting weapons for everyone? Inquiring minds want to know.

(Offhand, one objection would be that labeling someone as mentally ill can be used as a political weapon, as was done in the Soviet Union.]

Big Mike said...

I think he is more troubled at the idea that nihilism also exists on the Left


@NEO-FIDO, correction. Nihilism exists only on the left.

The Godfather said...

Another moderation fail. When I commented about the weird statement about Republicans, crazy people, and guns, no other comments were visible on this site. Now I see that four people commented on the same weird statement before I did. Had I known that, I wouldn't have bothered commenting.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Annoyed that people are enjoying themselves without asking him whether it's all right first.

Typical elitist a-hole.

eddie willers said...

This is like a Catholic priest being confused over the sexual dynamics of a couple.

“You no play-a da game, you no make-a da rules.”.

RMc said...

I saw "Joker" today, and I'd give it a positive review. Joaquin Phoenix is great, and the re-creation of 1970s New York -- er, Gotham -- is so effective you can practically smell it. Awfully brutal at times, tho...I didn't take the wife to this one.

It's nice to know that everything is still the Republicans' fault, however,

Roughcoat said...

I'm not going to see Joker. Not my style. Neither was Sin City which strikes me as kind of, sort of the same type of movie. Ugly and dark.

narciso said...

considering a thug like rudy santos, beats five homeless people to death, as the backdrop to this film,

narciso said...

son of sam, was from that period, as was zodiac on the west coast, what's wrong with these people, extolling nihilism, not caring the 'rough beast' that would rise,

narciso said...

an artefact from that time, john carpenter's escape from ny, (which was largely filmed in east st. louis,) carpenter admitted to Robert rodriguez, he wanted the leftist rebels a weather underground group to win, no matter what the consequences,

tcrosse said...

OTOH Michael Moore seems to like it.

narciso said...

the deinstintutionalization was driven by judges like gesell, bazelon, if memory serves, egged on by Geraldo rivera's sensational expose, among others, Reagan was largely blamed for events that happened before he came on the scene,

Unknown said...

"would rather deny weapons to the mentally ill than restrict weaponry for everyone."

As a recovering republican, I would rather deny the franchise to the mentally ill than restrict everyone from voting.

tim in vermont said...

So he doesn’t enjoy movies where he is cast as one of the bad guys.... Hmmm.

Unknown said...

If PHillips was really woke

he'd make Joker a black woman

Like Bond has done

All reviews should stick to this theme

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amadeus 48 said...

Brody makes the Joker sound like...a Democrat: psychopathic, blaming his troubles on others, delusional, living with his mom in early middle age, filled with rage and bloodlust, wishing death on his antagonists, silly clothes, regularly humiliated professionally and personally, physically repulsive.

Brody makes him sound like Adam Schiff.

Amadeus 48 said...

It's a crazy thing.

A lunatic uses a firearm to commit an atrocity, and people like Brody want to deprive 330,000,000 law-abiding people, none of whom committed any atrocity, of their natural law and constitutional rights to defend themselves.

That guy (Brody) must be nuts. Get him some help, people.

William said...

On the plus side, Ben Affleck isn't in the movie. It would be cool if the Joker finished off Affleck's Batman. That would give a positive vibe to the Joker's struggles with chaos and nihilism and make him a hero for our times.

Bay Area Guy said...

I wonder if the New Yorker gave a positive review to "Dirty Harry" in 1971. I'm guessing not.

Michael K said...

Had I known that, I wouldn't have bothered commenting.


I notice lots of duplicate comments, The hosts are bored and have better things to do.

Narr said...

A movie I'll never see, a reviewer I've never heard of, and a magazine that has become unreadable.

Narr
A trifecta to say good night on

Amadeus 48 said...

I have always admired the commitment that Althouse has made to keeping this going. She is the Cal Ripkin of bloggers. But I think some commenters here have made it difficult to keep the comments going and flowing without constant babysitting. That I am sure is a bore.

All hail, Althouse! You write a great blog. I hope we can get back to instant flow soon. The remaining commenters are great individually and collectively (and I include you, readering, Freder, Howard, ARM, etc.) but the flow is the show.

n.n said...

The New Yorker earns four Straw Clowns. Unfortunately, political myths are sustainable and renewable through public and popular indoctrination, through the journolistic publications and social media platforms steering.

Here We Go Again

6,603 murders by pistol, 297 by rifle, 235 by shotgun and 3,130 by gun but type not specified.

However, 1,515 were by knife and 672 by hands, feet, and other human instruments (e.g. pushed off bridge)

- FBI.GOV

Excluding homicides committed with a scalpel, vacuum, etc., which are excluded from consideration under the State-established Pro-Choice quasi-religion.

On the diversity front:

75% of the American population is white by last count, ~12.5% Hispanic, ~12.3% black and 3.6% Asian, roughly. Those are the major represented groups.

So it lines up like this:

75% of the population committed 3,308 murders.

12.5% of the population committed 1,576 murders.

And finally, 12.3% of the population committed 6,318 murders.


Which may or may not included politically congruent misclassification of "White Hispanics" et al in order to gerrymander perception.

Ironclad said...

I saw the movie and I would say that the message of the movie was more of that anarchy (the 70s "Gotham City/New York) can feed the delusions of the disturbed, but that betrayal (the co-workers "help" with getting a gun) and the Mother's lies push people over the brink more than anything. Even the first murder is provoked - having people kick you nearly to death (remember someone slamming a head into concrete) gets you shot. Of course in that case the person wasn't "empowered" to seek more. But it holds for what we see in much of urban America today - power to use force is intoxicating and gets used to "display" masculinity.

The New Yorker is just in the throes of TDS and MUST find a way to link anything they deem "not on message" to everything bad.

The only other thing about this Joker is that unlike the Ledger version, this Joker does not radiate menace, he is more of random crazy in committing violence as seen in the end of the film when he leaves a trail on the floor. Didn't see that coming at all, but it cements the idea that his actions can be sudden and deadly, just not telegraphed in advance.

Robert Cook said...

I saw JOKER. It was entertaining enough, but it presents a very prosaic origin story, leaching all the intriguing mystery out of the inscrutable character played by Heath Ledger, (a characterization and performance for the ages).

The urge to explain everything, to tie up all loose strings, is death to art.

PM said...

Richard Brody is a hack. I read Anthony Lane's review in the actul paper version of the NYer. Lane offered a coherent report in that he simply reviewed the film as a film - not as a 'reflection' of the times a porf like Richard Brody is suffering through.

gerry said...

"The Joker" has made the wrong people uncomfortable.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

The Left allows sympathy for the Devil, but not for white guys.