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David Fincher says 'Joker' is "a betrayal of the mentally ill"

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David Fincher says he believes 2019’s Joker to be “a betrayal of the mentally ill”.

The DC film, which starred Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, has received criticism since its release for its portrayal of mental illness, and was later crowned the most complained about movie of 2019.

  • READ MORE: ‘Joker’ review: a melancholic psychodrama punctuated by splashes of shocking violence

In a new interview with The Telegraph, director Fincher, who made his big screen return this week with new film Mank, likened Joker to a “trap”.

‘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’,” the director said.

Regarding Joker‘s record-breaking box office take, Fincher stated his belief that film studios “don’t want to make anything that can’t make them a billion dollars”.

David Fincher
David Fincher at the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 22, 2020 in Santa Barbara, California. Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF

Elsewhere in the same interview, Fincher revealed that he’s working on a new miniseries based around ‘cancel culture’.

“It’s about how modern society measures an apology,” he explained of the as-yet-unannounced project. “If you give a truly heartfelt apology and no one believes it, did you even apologise at all? It’s a troubling idea but we live in troubling times.”

In a five-star review, NME called Fincher’s new film Mank “one of the best films of 2020,” adding: “Fincher’s latest is a sophisticated drama that’s worth taking the time to get your head around. It’s about power and regret, alcoholism and wasted talent, movies and love.”

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