David Fincher calls Joker 'a betrayal of the mentally ill'

David Fincher calls Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix ‘a betrayal of the mentally ill’

Before the film won a pair of Oscar statuettes, it created lively debates around mental illness upon its release last year.

And now Todd Phillips’s DC origins film Joker, starring Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix, is again the subject of debate, thanks to some loaded comments from Seven auteur David Fincher.

Fincher, 58, spoke with The Telegraph, in which he likened the film to a ‘trap’ and ‘a betrayal of the mentally ill.’

Controversy: Joker, starring Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix, is again the subject of debate, thanks to some loaded comments from Seven auteur David Fincher

In the interview, Fincher said Joker directly drew on classic characters from Martin Scorsese’s oeuvre and ‘conflated’ them: 

‘I don’t think ­anyone would have looked at that material and thought, “Yeah, let’s take [Taxi Driver’s] Travis Bickle and [The King of Comedy’s] Rupert Pupkin and conflate them, then trap him in a betrayal of the mentally ill, and trot it out for a billion dollars.”‘

Fincher also seemed particularly irked by the fact that Joker earned over $1 billion at the box office, as opposed to one of his more notable films that also deals with the theme of mental illness – namely, 1999’s cult hit Fight Club.

Loaded words: Fincher, 58, spoke with The Telegraph , in which he likened the film to a ‘trap’ and ‘a betrayal of the mentally ill’; seen in 2017

That film was initially shunned by moviegoing audiences, only gaining traction later on. 

Regarding early screenings of Fight Club, Fincher recalled that ‘the general view afterwards among the studio types was, “Our careers are over.” 

‘The fact we got that film made in 1999 is still, to my mind, a miracle.’

Fincher also seemed particularly irked by the fact that Joker earned over $1 billion at the box office, as opposed to one of his more notable films that also deals with the theme of mental illness: Namely, 1999’s cult hit Fight Club; Fincher seen here in 2018

The Social Network filmmaker also named another Oscar-winning pivotal comic book film – 2008’s The Dark Knight – as partially responsible for Joker’s runaway success.

‘Nobody would have thought they had a shot at a giant hit with Joker had The Dark Knight not been as massive as it was,’ Fincher stated in The Telegraph interview.

When Joker was released late last year, it created controversy and generated think pieces across the board as to whether Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck, who suffered from various forms of mental illness, was accurate or sympathetic.

When Joker was released late last year: It created controversy and generated think pieces as to whether Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck, who suffered from various forms of mental illness, was accurate or sympathetic

Nonetheless, Joaquin went on to win the Best Lead Actor Oscar this past February, from among the film’s daunting eleven nominations that included Best Picture, Directing and Screenplay.

Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir also became the first ever woman to be awarded the Oscar for Best Score. 

Fincher, meanwhile, is currently promoting his new film Mank, a black and white biopic centering on old Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz of Citizen Kane fame.

Nonetheless: Joaquin went on to win the Best Lead Actor Oscar this past February, from among the film’s daunting eleven nominations

Meanwhile: Fincher is currently promoting his new film Mank, a black and white biopic centering on old Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz; Amanda Seyfried seen here in the film

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