Here we go again: people across the world are walking out of Joker screenings, calling for the film to be ‘banned’.
The new movie from director Todd Phillips, with Joaquin Phoenix taking on the infamous villain, has brewed critical acclaim – but also immense controversy. As reported by Deadline, Joker is heading for a $188-$194 million worldwide opening weekend.
Amid the relentless discourse the film has inspired, people have been tweeting their discontentment with its content – pointing out its ‘glorification’ of violence and how we’re encouraged to sympathise with the character.
Check out the trailer for Joker below:
The film’s synopsis reads:
Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen.
The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
Rating 15 in the UK for ‘strong bloody violence, language’ and R in the US, it’s a thundering, volatile triumph of a movie that isn’t for the faint of heart. If anything, the flurry of flustered tweets go to show the film did exactly what it intended.
One viewer tweeted after seeing the movie:
What a f*cked up movie. Literally just walked out of a screening of Joker. Way too terrifying to be there with all this going on the way the movie glamorizes gun violence and mental health issues.
I’m watching Joker with my brother and sister in law but I needed to find an excuse to walk out for a second cuz this movie has made me the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been at a theater in years
— 🦇 #1 susie fan 🦇 (@masterbunne) October 4, 2019
Another user tweeted:
I’ve never walked out of a movie but with Joker I came very close… Would have walked out of the joker after an hour if the missus would have let me! #dontdoitfolks
About to watch Joker. High key the scariest part of coming to watch this movie is hoping I’ll be able to walk out of it alive.
— Omni ☕️ (@InfernoOmni) October 5, 2019
Family members of the infamous Dark Knight Rises massacre in Aurora, Colorado, also recently penned a letter to Warner Bros. with concerns about the movie.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, part of the letter reads:
We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe.
In 2012, James Holmes opened fire on an Aurora Cinemark theatre audience, taking the lives of 12 people and injuring a further 70. Reports circulated in the fallout claiming he called himself ‘The Joker’, although authorities have denied this.
I had a mental breakdown during joker and almost wanted to walk out.
— stopsnitchin (@causinmadtroubl) October 5, 2019
In response, Warner Bros. issued a statement – extending their sympathy to the families while acknowledging that gun control and violence is a critical issue. However, they add that Joker is not an endorsement of ‘real-world violence’.
Ahead of the film’s much-anticipated release, the Los Angeles Police Department also confirmed there would be ‘high visibility’ police presence around screenings.
And of course I walk out of “Joker” to the sight of armed cops right outside. What THEE fuck.
— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) October 4, 2019
As reported by the MailOnline, commenting on the claims over the film’s violence, Phillips said:
I thought, isn’t that a good thing, to put real-world implications on violence? Isn’t it a good thing to take away the cartoon element about violence that we’ve become so immune to?
I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it’s irresponsible. Because, to me, it’s very responsible to make it feel real and make it have weight and implications.
The film doesn’t glorify violence, nor does it completely justify the Joker’s actions – it’s a tale of pure, horrific villainy, like a double-barrel blast to the head.
Sometimes, people just need to relax.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.