Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Is Joker any more likely to engender copycat violence than any other violent movie?

It does seem somewhat unfair that Joaquin Phoenix is being grilled by the media on whether the gratuitous violence in his latest movie, Joker, movie might lead to copycat real-life violence. He was forced to flee one interview in confusion when questioned about copycat violence, apparently having never even considered the possibility before.
The only reason the possibility is being even mooted is cause of the cinema shootings a few years ago (12 people were killed in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises). Yes, there is a plot connection between Batman and the Joker, but that is about as far as it goes. The US Army has apparently been put on alert for possible "incel" (involuntary celibate) shootings during the early days of Joker screenings this month, and they claim to have encountered possible planned threats on the "dark web" where these kinds of people hang out. The Joker character is considered to be the kind of bitter and sociopathic caracter that incels could easily identify with.
There are many other movies and TV shows out there just as violent (and some even more so), with absolutely no connection to Batman, that are surely just as likely to elicit copycat violence as Joker. And let's not even start on video games...
I do wonder why movies feel the need to pander to what is surely a rather limited demand for more and more excessive violence. Interesting character studies and disturbing plots are one thing (well, two, I guess), but is the ultraviolence really necessary to put those elements across? I think not. And people would still flock to see Joaquin Phoenix tackle the Joker character regardless.
Having said that ... do these media people have nothing better to cover in their movie star interviews?

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