Michael Mann on ‘Joker’: “I Love This Movie”

michael mann loves joker

People can’t stop talking about Joker, Todd Phillips‘ dark, violent origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime. As we head into awards season, you can expect the film to continue to be at the forefront of entertainment news as Warner Bros. pushes for awards glory. There was a private screening for the film in LA recently, and legendary director Michael Mann was supposed to be on hand to interview Phillips. Sadly, Mann couldn’t make the event due to a scheduling problem, but he was still kind enough to send along a letter singing the praises of Joker.

Michael Mann has made a series of fantastic films, so having his seal of approval on something you’ve made must feel great. Which means Todd Phillips is probably glowing at the moment, because Mann really digs Phillips’ Joker. According to IndieWire, Mann sent Phillips a letter in which he details how impressed he was with Joker, and Joaquin Phoenix‘s performance in particular:

“I love this movie. I think it’s brilliant and not only Todd’s best film but it’s exciting because it’s on a frontier. And that’s usually where very good things happen. Todd and Scott [Silver’s] screenplay has that relevance that occurs when work is authentic and not derivative. We find Arthur disturbing and poignant simultaneously. He’s both child victim and adult perpetrator. Both are true, as is the case with most schizophrenics. That both are true is uncomfortable. We find ourselves in a fugue state. It’s counterpoint. It’s why Arthur and the film’s impact sustains so strongly in memory. To build on all of this, and for Joaquin, Todd, and Scott, to impact upon on this powerfully is a difficult accomplishment. Congratulations, Todd!”

One can only assume that after he wrote this letter, Mann proceeded to dance down a flight of stairs in slow motion.

I know a backlash has built up around Joker, and I myself have some problems with it. But I have to say: Mann’s take on the film isn’t wrong. I do think Joker has its moments, and I also think Joaquin Phoenix’s performance alone makes the movie worthwhile. Is Joker as good as one of Mann’s crime dramas like Heat, Thief, or Collateral? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for Michael Mann’s comments about Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad.

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