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The attack has been called up to support specific and often quite different contemporary political or cultural causes, such as efforts to link a Japanese apology for December 7 to a similar action from the United States for dropping the atomic bomb, the rehabilitation of Admiral Husband Kimmel from scapegoat to dedicated commander during the “history wars” of the 1990s, or the drive to make reparation payments to loyal Japanese-American citizens for the wartime disruption of their lives in relocation centers.
But Pearl Harbor has reached a far broader audience with no specific agenda to advance.
There’s a case to be made that the Joker didn’t need a definitive on-screen origin story, but two hours in the company of Joaquin Phoenix’s clown prince is guaranteed to put a (nervous) smile on your face. Joker is so radically different from contemporary comic book cinema – structurally, tonally and morally – that it has more in common with Taxi Driver and The King Of Comedy than it does with The Avengers or The Dark Knight.
Rosenberg concludes with an entirely appropriate prediction: Based on the successful manipulation of Pearl Harbor over the years, history and memory will continue to clash on other cultural battlefields, confronting Americans with multiple meanings of 9/11.That Joker was directed and co-written by Todd Phillips – best known for the Hangover trilogy – makes this all the more remarkable.Phillips and the Ace of Knaves have turned out to be the perfect marriage of filmmaker and material; practically every choice is on the money.Needless to say, pint-sized Bat-fans should steer clear.We’re introduced to Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) applying make-up in preparation for his day job as a clown-for-hire, his face contorted into a horrific half-smile, half-cry grimace – the result of a neurological condition that causes involuntary, pathological laughter.
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Pearl Harbor at 50 years remained a cultural battlefield capable of generating both pride and acrimony.