World-renowned auteur filmmaker Martin Scorsese admits he has not seen Joker and doesn’t really want to.
Hit with controversies and criticism, Joker still found an audience and won acclaim at film festivals internationally. A billion dollars later, it’s considered a serious contender at the Oscars and the Golden Globes — primarily off the back of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. Yet not everyone has seen it, and some aren’t afraid to say it.
One person not in a hurry to watch Joker is the very vocal Martin Scorsese. The director and native New Yorker told The NY Times in a “wide-ranging interview” he has seen some clips; that’s it and all he wants to see of the gritty comic book picture.
“I saw clips of it. I know it,” said Scorsese. He continued, saying he doesn’t feel the need: “So it’s like, why do I need to? I get it. It’s fine.” The implication is one reason he refuses to watch all of Joker is he made the same movie, essentially, and already experienced the intrinsic themes more than once.
Joker’s plot often is compared to Scorsese’s classic films Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy — both of which star Murray Franklin himself, Robert De Niro. Between the struggles of the mentally disturbed main character Arthur Fleck and his pursuit of a career in stand-up, there are similarities, but Scorsese has a deeper connection to Todd Phillips’ DC adaptation. He was offered the opportunity to produce once upon a time and unfortunately, turned the studio — Warner Bros. — down.
Ultimately, the decision boiled down to time. Scorsese was too busy making The Irishman, another feature with De Niro that’s become one of 2019’s most talked-about motion pictures. The difference is Joker took theaters by storm, while The Irishman is trending on Netflix.
Scorsese fell in hot water over his comments about Marvel movies and comic book cinema in general. He compared them to theme parks and stated they lack the emotional stakes of his preferences and pedigree. Later, in a NYT op-ed, he clarified he sees familiar elements of cinema, just processed and blurring the line between real cinema and simple “audiovisual entertainment.”
Joker is on digital and makes its way to Blu-ray this coming week.
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