Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director David Fincher says Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips’ Joker was a betrayal of the mentally ill.
Fincher says: “I don’t think anyone would have looked at that material and thought, Yeah, let’s take [Taxi Driver] and [The King of Comedy’s] and conflate them, then trap him in a betrayal of the mentally ill, and trot it out for a billion dollars.”
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Written by Phillips with Scott Silver, the first film had this synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied, and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.
It sports a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: “Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star — and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.”
Phillips directed Joker from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver based on DC Comics characters. Phillips also produced with Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy.
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