10 Movies that Caused Controversy Before Release

by Prashant Gupta4 years ago
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4 Joker (2019)
Joker
Image credits: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Joker has long been one of the most loved and loathed comic characters of all time. Audiences at once identify with the struggles of Arthur Fleck’s life and are revolted by the murderous turn his character takes before he goes on to become The Joker terrorizing Gotham city.

The movie, directed by Todd Philips, where the character of Arthur Fleck is played by Joaquin Phoenix, showcases the transformation of Arthur from an aspiring comedian to a person who enjoys violence. Even though the film won a Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and went on to get several nominations at the Oscars, it was widely criticized for its depiction of violence and invoking empathy for its lead character.

After the film’s premiere at Venice and Toronto film festivals, critics categorically termed it is as dangerous, disturbing, and toxic. It was also pointed out by many that the film only furthers the idea of finding an excuse for the violent acts of White men. However, despite all the outrage surrounding the movie, it went on to earn over $1 billion worldwide. (source)

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5 Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit
Image credits: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Written and directed by the celebrated Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit is a movie that will keep you in a constant tug-of-war situation. The movie skillfully combines silly humor with a realistic depiction of Nazi atrocities. While this mixed bag of emotion might not appeal to everyone’s taste, it sure does spark uncomfortable questions.

Based on the events that occurred during the Second World War, the movie hits on people with satire who hate or propagate hate on the basis of ethnicity – a phenomenon which is again on the rise in today’s world. The film very shrewdly points out people on both sides of the aisle who are engaged in contempt and dismissal. It proves its point emphatically that there are good people on every side. (source)

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6 Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Ghost in the Shell
Image credits: DreamWorks Pictures

In line with Exodus: Gods and Kings and Aloha, Rupert Sanders’ remake of Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson found itself at the forefront of the “whitewashing” controversy. Based on the popular Japanese manga series where the central cast is a Japanese woman, Motoko Kusanagi, the film failed miserably at the US box office as a result of this controversy. Paramount Pictures, along with the director Sanders, tried to defend their choice of casting a White woman for an ethnic character.

However, the fans and critics didn’t accept their point that since the central character is a cyborg, it cannot be of any particular ethnicity. The movie fits into the long-drawn practice of whitewashing central characters in Hollywood. More often than not, it’s a case of getting a well-known star to play the lead roles for a great result at the box office. (source)

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