The Joker

I feel like this issue gets brought up a lot when we talk about movies or video games having violent natures. What if this will spark more violence?

Surely, we can’t allow people to watch this film or play this game, right?

This same issue was brought up as soon as the film “Joker” was screened for the first time at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on Aug. 31.

Although it was received with a standing ovation after the screening, there were already people running to the internet to preach to the world that “Joker” is a “dangerous film.”

I’ve seen the film twice, and I believe that this film should be seen by all fans of cinema, not just comic book fans.

Joaquin Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, who becomes Joker in the film directed by Todd Phillips.

For those who don’t know the Joker’s origin, he is a villain of DC Comic’s “Batman.” I’ve read that critics won’t even attend the film because of its relation to comic books. Here is why that is ridiculous.

“Joker” says a lot about mental health. It goes into the effects of child trauma, as well as being an outsider in society.

Fleck was abused as a child and becomes mentally ill as an adult. There is a scene about halfway through the film where he is speaking to a social worker who informs him that funding was cut by the city and he will no longer be able to get his medication.

To me, this is the most important scene in the film. The city has given up on people like Fleck; the outcasts, the poor, the bottom part of society.

Let me get this point across, I am not saying we should all support what Fleck does throughout the film, the acts of violence that he carries out.

What I am saying is to take a harder look at what the film is trying to say to the audience.

This isn’t about violence.

This isn’t about a comic book villain.

The film is about our society. The film asks us as the audience to take a look in the mirror and be accountable for our own actions. It also asks us to think about how we as a society really treat mental illness.

Have we done enough?

I personally think that the majority of people don’t try to understand mental health in general, which is a very important thing to do – especially in today’s society.

What I want people to take away from this column is this; we shouldn’t try to stop art from executing the message it is trying to get across. We can’t go through life saying things like, “people shouldn’t go to see this movie because it will promote violence.”

We need to educate ourselves about these things, no matter how difficult it is or how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

Phoenix said it best during an interview with IGN recently.

“We all are aware of these issues, and we are concerned. That’s why we talk about it, and I don’t think we can be afraid to talk about it.”

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