As “Joker” wins film festival awards and is given high praise by the small number of people that have seen it, there have been discussions on whether the tale of a lone wolf perpetrator of violence will inspire similar behavior in the real world.
I interviewed Joaquin Phoenix about Joker and it went…incredibly badly. Also very well for a bit! But mostly badly. https://t.co/pdE8BAyQRc
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) September 20, 2019
Telegram film critic Robbie Collin sat down with the movie’s star, Joaquin Phoenix, and asked him directly about the possibilities of inspiring violence. Media and video games are often blamed for violence, but there are plenty of cases where violent acts are “inspired” by non-violent causes.
Phoenix answered “no” twice and walked out of the interview.
Daily Wire reported on the awkward interview.
“Why? Why would you … ? No, no,” Phoenix said before eventually leaving the room.
Phoenix returned to finish the interview an hour later after negotiating with a Warner Bros. agent. Though he did not answer Collin’s question, Phoenix said that he panicked, arguing that the question blindsided him. The actor did, however, reflect on the film’s violence when speaking with SFX magazine in which he said he experienced no hesitation about depicting such “visceral and raw” violence.
“You always want it to feel real, and you want the little violence that we have to have an impact,” he said. “What happens in a lot of movies is that you get numb to it, you’re killing 40,000 people, you don’t feel it. While being a fictional story in a fictional world, you always want it to feel real. Everything that happens in this movie as far as violence goes, you feel it.”
As reported by Emily Zanotti of The Daily Wire, social justice warriors across the internet have been taking swipes at the film for allegedly glorifying “incel violence” and giving such people a platform for empathy:
According to leftists on social media, “Joker,” which has yet to see a global release — meaning most average theatergoers are still waiting to see Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the iconic Arkham Asylum resident — the film glorifies “incel violence” and “paints mass murder as the logical conclusion” of a “neurodivergent white man being failed by the system.”
In other words — words regularly used by people who haven’t wasted money on a gender studies degree — “Joker” allows “incels,” or the movement of mostly young white men who consider themselves “involuntarily celibate,” to relate to a mainstream character, and explains — and even, they say, justifies — a descent into violence.
It is understandable that people want to have an explanation for violent acts. The usual scapegoats tend to be video games and movies, but at the end of the day, there is no data that represents any type of connection. Electronic media has only has been present for only a blink of human existence, and as far as historians are concerned, violence goes back to the earliest man.