BY GARY MCGHEE
The film Joker is a masterpiece in my opinion. On an artistic level it thoroughly deserves the accolades it is receiving and the north of a billion dollars gross box office is has taken so far.
The ‘woke’ media critics were so triggered by it, so keen to denigrate it, that they completely missed the point of the film. The likes of ex-revolutionary commie turned BBC establishment luvvie (sound familiar?), Mark Kermode, called it narcissistic, when it is not that at all. It is the story of a man’s descent into mental illness and psychosis. This is brought on by a combination of the shit hole environment he lives in, (Gotham City is a rat-infested hell, awash with feral youths and slum housing), and the total indifference and contempt of the elites and authorities towards this and ordinary people. This context is a clear reference to the shit holes that a lot of cities in Europe, Britain and the US have become, especially those governed by ‘woke’ liberal politicians. Irony, much?
They hated it because it’s about them, the real narcissism on display is the fact that Joker holds up a mirror to those governing establishment elites, and they can’t bear to look at it squarely. They hated Director Todd Phillips for saying that ‘wokeness’ is killing comedy and the media arts, which is like saying shit smells and just stating the bleedin’ obvious. Some critics also said that they thought it was ‘boring’, others tried to claim that it was about white male privilege, when two of the sympathetic characters in the film are black women. He isn’t a ‘crap’ comedian either, who resents his lack of recognition; he’s a mentally ill one. These critics were clearly watching the film they wanted to watch rather than the actual film, a classic sign of cognitive dissonance. (Joker is a lot of things, but boring it isn’t.)
As somebody who spent years caring for my best friend, who has lived with mental illness for most of his life, I was gratified with the way Arthur Fleck, acted brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix, was portrayed. The key point is that what usually, or most likely happens, to people like Arthur is that they end up killing themselves. They internalise their condition and become increasingly self-destructive. Arthur on the other hand externalises it and kills the people who have abused and brutalised him. There is a scene where Arthur is talking to his black woman social worker (whose funding is being cut) and states that he has never been happy for five minutes of his entire life. This resonates so powerfully and is fundamentally what this film is about, because it juxtaposes profoundly with his donning of the Joker mask as a result of his mother always telling him to put on a ‘happy face’. The woke critics ignored this about the film, because it didn’t fit their narrow narrative remit. Shame on them and their lack of insight.
Arthur does have a moment in the sun, when he gets invited onto a top comedy show, but he uses it to exact the most delicious revenge of all, and inadvertently becomes the anti-anti-hero of a generation of the downtrodden and dispossessed of Gotham, who take to the streets. Generation Joker is thus born. The film deservedly got an 8-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film festival and continues to do good business at the box office. Ordinary punters, not the ‘woke’ elite, rule, thank goodness. I came out of the cinema proclaiming it as absolutely effin’ brilliant, the best film I’ve seen since Shane Meadow’s ‘Dead Man’s Shoes,’ (another deliciously executed, pun intended, revenge piece.)
It’s a shame that Phoenix himself spouted some dumb blether when receiving his Bafta about how the nominations didn’t include many people of colour and lacked ‘diversity’ and that he himself was part of the problem, as a white man presumably. Oh dear, Joaquin. Perhaps you should have declined the nomination in the first place and ‘handed over the mic?’ Heaven forbid that the winners should be chosen on merit, and be justly rewarded for brilliant work, as is the case with this film and his performance, regardless of their immutable characteristics. With this attitude, wokeness is killing culture. Better to join Generation Joker, don those clown masks, and kick this woke nonsense into the dustbin of cultural history where it belongs.
Gary McGhee is a semi-retired screenwriter, loving the outdoor life with his partner in the Norfolk countryside. Gary was ‘red-pilled’ before it became fashionable, and believes in liberty, freedom, modernism, and defying herd-mentalities.