Violence In ‘Joker’ Defended By Director

Phoenix's Joker
Article by Sam McTernan

Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival this weekend, and reviews are already appearing. Some sources are giving the film perfect 10 out of 10 scores! The main character, the Joker, is of course, based on the iconic DC villain and arch-nemesis of Batman. However, this isn’t your normal comic book adaptation. This is a much more intense, violent and darker portrayal… that much has been evident from day one. Director Todd Phillips has said that the violence in Joker is “like a punch to the stomach.”

It’s all tone. I think one of the biggest jobs of a director is you’re the purveyor of tone, and this movie was always written and meant to be a slow burn, and I think the violence is part of that slow burn. We were very careful, I think, with it. A lot of people assume or think it’s gonna be a really violent movie, but if you break it down to the amount of people that [Arthur] has a problem with, I think the reason it affects you differently — I mean, you can watch a movie like John Wick 3, and there’s a much higher amount of violence. But I think why it might affect you differently is we tried to paint it with as realistic a brush as possible. So when it comes, it sort of feels like a punch in the stomach. But again,it was all just a balancing act of tone.

It sounds intense, the violence in Joker may even give Christopher Nolan’s version from The Dark Knight a run for its money. I’m certainly all for the darker side of Joker, as Heath Ledger gave such a stunning performance that he set the tone for any actor that followed. This is also a stand alone movie that focuses purely on the character of Arthur Fleck/Joker, away from the constraint of The Dark Knight and comic books in general.

I can’t wait. Joker hits theaters on October 4th.


Sam McTernan

Sam McTernan

Sam is a Scottish artist and writer based in Edinburgh. He has been a Batman and comics fan for as long he can remember, This is a passion thankfully shared by his children.