Quentin Tarantino has recalled his experience watching Todd Phillips’ Joker for the first time.
The filmmaker remembered how he felt seeing the film in cinemas on a special three-hour podcast with Edgar Wright for Empire.
Referring specifically to a scene towards the end of the film in which Joaquin Phoenix’s character threatens a talk show host, played by Robert De Niro, Tarantino said “You [could] feel the entire atmosphere in the theatre change.”
“It’s not suspense, it’s beyond suspense,” he continued. “They are riveted. Everybody is completely plugged in. If you saw this movie on an aeroplane, if you watch this movie streaming, if you watch this movie on DVD, you didn’t fucking see the movie.
“You got a handjob as opposed to having great sex. You got a handjob as opposed to a threesome.”
Tarantino went on to explain which aspects in particular he deemed “riveting”, saying: “The thing that’s profound is this: it’s not just suspenseful, it’s not just riveting and exciting, the director subverts the audience.
“Because the Joker is a fucking nut. The guy is a fucking nut. Robert De Niro’s talkshow character is not a movie villain. He seems like an asshole but he’s not any more of an asshole than David Letterman. He doesn’t deserve to die.
“Yet, while the audience in a movie theatre is watching Joker, they wanted to kill Robert De Niro. They wanted to take the gun and stick it in his eye and blow the back of his fucking head off.”
In a five-star review of Joker, NME wrote: “This is edge-of-your-seat stuff. This is outstanding.”