We’re still a little while out from the Fall launch of Todd Phillips’ “Joker” movie and the first reviews for the standalone DC feature out of the Venice Film Festival.
Now, Total Film has released a couple of new shots from the movie (via Games Radar) along with some comments from Phillips and the film’s star Joaquin Phoenix about the project which Phillips insists is “not meant to be political, but it is meant to be provocative”.
Phillips makes one comparison with this film, that being to Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” in that its a film of its time in terms of its subtextual themes:
“I think there will be some 21-year-olds that go and watch it who just think it’s a version of a Joker story. And that’s fine, too. I don’t want to define it as this message movie, because it’s not. But it definitely is, the same way that The Dark Knight was not a message movie, but it definitely was a post-9/11 terrorist sort of ‘Oh s–t…’ thing.”
Phoenix meanwhile offers a longer and more thought out answer when he was asked if real-life events helped shape his take on the character:
“There were times when I would go, like, ‘Look at this f–king world, and how we lack empathy and real compassion and care’. I felt like there were things that Todd and [co-writer] Scott [Silver] were touching on that were relevant to what we may be experiencing now.
But I also felt like they weren’t being didactic, and they weren’t steering you towards one particular way of watching the movie, and saying, ‘This is the cause.’ To me, the Joker… I’m reluctant to shape the way people view this movie. There’s not really a right way of looking at this film.
Part of what is so fascinating about the Joker is that there isn’t the specific origin. There’s not a specific catalyst. And so it allows us as a viewer to project our own ideas of discontent or whatever we feel onto the character. So yes, I think there are a lot of things that are relevant. I hope that people explore those things and talk about them. It’s a safe way to do that. But I also feel like: it’s not just that.”
Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man facing the cruelty and outright scorn of society along with the indifference of a system that allows him to spiral from vulnerability into depravity. A clown-for-hire by day, he strives to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds that the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence teetering on the precipice of reality and madness, one bad decision brings about a chain reaction of escalating, ultimately deadly, events.
“Joker” opens in cinemas everywhere on October 4th.