This America can’t handle Joker. And an America that could, wouldn’t want to.
I’ve seen my fair share of gore, violence, and mischief on the silver screen, and am aware that a level of corruption must be present in every good story to do justice to the cosmos. In fact, some of my favorite films, films that extol virtues like self-sacrifice, brotherly love, Godly defiance, and courage despite overwhelming odds, contain much more than a hint of wrongdoing. Such shows of wickedness play an integral part in our understanding courage, conviction, love, and sacrifice; in understanding the good. But what happens when we find ourselves taken by the bad? When we are enticed by the body count and not the tenacious love (Taken, 2008), the carnage and not the faith (Book of Eli, 2010)?
There is no offense in showing the very worst of humanity if the point is to highlight its depravity and point to the Virtuous, but we are a culture that has lost the ability to discern the good and shun the evil. We are a culture that exists to fill ourselves on gratuitous and flagrant abominations. If the idea of Heath Ledger’s magnificently wicked psychotic clown is to get the viewer up close and personal with the logical conclusion of a Godless worldview, only to have truth and justice triumph over such madness in the end, then bravo! However, for a people who’ve lost their moral compass, it’s probably just as likely that they sympathize and glory in the chaos as rejoice in the good. So, Aurora. Sandy Hook. Vegas. Sutherland Springs. Parkland. And I wish it would just end there, but I lament. We yearn for the darkness and Hollywood is happy to oblige.
A wise gentleman once said:
“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right… Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.”C.S. Lewis
We are there. Joker is a snapshot of our hearts. And, for a people given over to a lust for licentiousness, it’s God or bust. Either, as a society, God grips us to the point that we realize [each one of us] how we have perverted the good, blasphemed the holy, desecrated the sacred, deserved Hell, and need heaps and heaps of soul-saving, life-giving, abundant mercy from above, or else justice will secure our misery. There is but one who can save us- God come in the flesh to absorb the punishment due all those who would cry out for forgiveness, who died, was buried, is raised and seated right now in a place so brilliant, your eyes would burn away if even you imagined rightly His radiant glory (let alone beheld it). And when He comes back, it’s all over. God doesn’t mess around. Peace has been offered, choose this day whom you will serve.
So in a country that has, to use the most forgiving language possible, abandoned morality, a movie like Joker stands to win over more sick souls to darkness than to light. You can’t trust this populus to see brutality like that and abhor it. Even if the goal is to masterfully build the baddest of the bad so that, when the light conquers, the crescendo amazes, it will not be interpreted so by the sickened heart. And, were our hearts well, I doubt we could stomach the depths of depravity to which this film dives. We are Arkham, and we need the Good Physician.
This article is dedicated to the victims of all the mass killings that have taken place since Columbine. You vindicate this piece. May we learn of our hopelessness apart from Christ and hasten to His forgiving side.