On the politics of Joker


Over the weekend I saw Joker with a friend. The movie has been controversial to say the least. Despite the connections the commentary has had with my research interests I’ve been hesitant to write anything about it. Now that I’ve seen it for myself, boy do I have some feelings. 

But first off, I feel it is a shame that I and so many others are spending more time engaging with the commentary around this movie instead of engaging with the movie itself. As a piece of art, Joker was incredible. The movie left me feeling shaken and speechless. The cinematography was stunning, Joaquin Phoenix was mesmerising, and the script left me feeling both emotionally wrecked yet driven to discuss it with everyone I know. In short, it is a masterpiece. 

Many critics have written about the artistic merits of the film – I especially recommend Luke Buckmaster’s excellent review. But for me, it is the politics that drive my interest in this movie. 

Much has been written about what Joker is about, and a lot of it has missed the mark. I’m going to start my analysis about what Joker is not. 

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