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February 1, 2020- by Steven E. Greer, MD
I canceled my Netflix subscription several months ago because there was simply nothing to watch. However, now is the time of the year when the few good movies made are becoming available. So, I watched The Joker.
This film is one of the five most important made since Apocalypse Now in 1979. Director and writer Todd Phillips nailed it. Joaquin Phoenix was spectacular as The Joker too.
Instead of creating a cartoon character, this film shows you how real psychopaths are formed by society. It gives an extremely accurate depiction of how childhood trauma, bad social workers, bad psych meds, and city life all produce a mass murderer.
When The Joker learns about his childhood and his mother, chills went up my spine. It was perfectly understated and not melodramatic.
Accidentally, Todd Phillips highlights the role of antidepressants and antipsychotics in murder and suicide. He thinks they are important to prevent violence, but it is actually the other way around. The drugs are well known, and labeled by the FDA, to increase violence. Almost every school shooter was on medications.
The film avoids all of the pitfalls and clichés of most modern movies. It is not like a Marvel movie. However, there is a slight surreal comic book nature to it.
This Joker film adds to the excellent one by Heath Ledger. It explains how the Joker was made and why he hates Batman.
Without spoiling the ending, I particularly enjoyed the Robert De Niro character and what happens to him. The real-life violence against Trump for which De Niro advocates becomes poignant in his fictional role.
I highly recommend this movie despite the fact that half of the movie depicts Joaquin Phoenix smoking cigarettes. I had to hold my hand up to block those scenes. I find it repulsive.