The Joker, a Reality in Society1)
Recently, the DC movie <Joker (2019)>, based on the villain ‘Joker’ has acquired mass popularity worldwide. It is about a story that Arthur Fleck who suffers from a poor and miserable life rebels against the society that alienated him. He begins a murder streak and eventually turns into the character known as the Joker. The film was awarded a Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, for its excellent visual style, solid storyline, and great filming. However, many people who watched <Joker> are concerned about copycat crimes because the film’s scenes are too violent and based on the behavior of the anti-social psychology of the protagonist. An Semin, Department of English Language & Literature ’19, said, “I saw the movie <Joker> and was shocked by the level of violence. In the movie, there is a scene where Arthur Fleck kills his partner with scissors. I even couldn’t open my eyes during that scene because I was so horrified. I didn’t think such scenes were necessary for the storyline.” An’s comment clearly shows the amount of violence in <Joker>, which could mentally shock audiences. Despite this level of violence, <Joker> was M-rated film, which means children under 15 are not recommended.
However, unlike in Korea, <Joker> received an R-rating in the U.S, so no one unaccompanied under the age of 17 was permitted to view the film. The authorities even replaced the police officers near certain theaters, fearing the possibility of copycat crimes by audiences who watched the film. The precautionary measures were deemed necessary because there was a case of a man who was a fanatic of the Joker character and shot audiences at the screening of <The Dark Knight Rises (2012)>. Ha Jaegeun, a critic of popular culture in Korea, said, “A society in which millions of people sympathize with the angry eccentric Joker is not normal. This proves that society is sick.” On the other hand, other people claim some people are being overly sensitive to the violence in the film <Joker>. Todd Phillips, who produced <Joker>, said, “In <John Wick 3 (2019)>, the main character killed more than 300 people, but audiences supported him. I can’t understand why people are taking a different stance on the <Joker>?”2) Although people claim freedom of expression and creation, concerns about copycat crimes from Joker will continue to be heard as long as the movie is popularity.
1) Ha Jaegeun, “A Sick Society Where People Are Enthusiastic About <Joker>”, Dailyan, October 23, 2019
2) Yoon Jiman, “<Joker>, Stories About This Horrific Movie”, ize, October 11, 2019