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Date TimeSeptember 02, 2019
VoiceAlarmist reactions to the ‘rightwing’ film – starring Joaquin Phoenix as a needy, dangerous wannabe star comic – overlook its subtler points
Incel violence is horrific, but Joker is complex, and doesnt take sides
Todd Phillips’s Joker had its world premiere at the Venice film festival only on Saturday, so it’s impressive that nearly everyone on the internet has an opinion on it. Reviews from critics here have been largely positive, though have also already sparked discontented rumblings from that nebulous collection of industry folks and movie fans known as “film twitter”. One of the central points of contention around Phillips’s comic-book villain origin story is that it in some way panders to incel culture, or “involuntary celibates” – men who see themselves as losers and “beta males” who women don’t want to sleep with. Angry, misogynistic and feeling entitled to sex and attention, incels have been prone to real-world violence, as with the Isla Vista murders in 2014, when a killer targeted a sorority – shooting 11 people and killing six before killing himself.
Related: Joker review – Joaquin Phoenix’s villain has last laugh in twisted tale

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