Well over a year after its release the world just gained another fan of Joker and it's none other than Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino. A profound talker about his taste in film, what he loves, doesn't love, and why things work, the two-time Academy Award winner went on a mini-rant about one specific moment from the 2019 feature film and how effective he found the filmmaking. While speaking with Edgar Wright for the new Empire Podcast, Tarantino called the talk show sequence in Joker to be "subversion on a massive level" because of how the story beats play out and how we as the audience would react to anything other than the outcome, it's a smart take!
"It gets to the talk show scene, and you feel the entire atmosphere in the theater change,” Tarantino said (H/T Collider). “The subversion on a massive level, 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 f***ing nut. Robert De Niro’s talk show character is not a movie villain. He seems like an asshole, but he’s not more of an asshole than David Letterman. He’s just an asshole comedian, talk show guy. He’s not a movie villain. He doesn’t deserve to die."
He continues, "Yet, while the audience is watching the Joker, they want him to kill Robert De Niro; they want him to take that gun, and stick it in his eye and blow his f***ing head off. And if the Joker didn’t kill him? You would be pissed off. That is subversion on a massive level! They got the audience to think like a f***ing lunatic and to want that. And they will lie about it! They will say, ‘no, I didn’t [want it to happen]!,’ and they are f***ing liars. They did.”
That praise on the sequence isn't to say that Tarantino was entirely sold on Joker as a movie though, in the same interview he referred to it as "a little one-note,” and even downplayed his interest in modern movies that use a clear template of something that came before them.
“Is this where we live now? Take great movies from the ‘70s and redo them as pop-cultural artifacts?" Tarantino added. "Taxi Driver as the Joker, Apocalypse Now as Ad Astra, is everything some weird pop culture artifact of a challenging movie from another time?”
You can catch Joker, and its subversive talk show scene, on HBO Max.