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Rosenberg argues that, even in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Hawaii, the popular rallying cry to remember what happened on December 7, 1941, had different meaning for different constituencies.Indeed, she asserts that “Pearl Harbor `lives’ less as a specific occurrence in the past than as a highly emotive and spectacularized icon” that served the cultural and social needs of the wartime generation and continues to touch Americans today.The Japanese attack also fueled the propagation of accusations and full-blown conspiracy theories by journalists and other shapers of public memory who accused Roosevelt or other national leaders of deliberately inviting Japan’s attack.The surprise and sophistication of the Japanese attack led to the use of Pearl Harbor as an underpinning for popular wartime descriptions of the enemy, ranging from racially inspired demonizations to depictions of an industrious and worthy foe forced to accept great risk by flawed American diplomatic and economic policy.Rosenberg’s book is a welcome addition to recent studies that explore the social and cultural struggle between objective “history” and subjective personal or public memory to preserve, reconstruct, analyze or use the past.She first examines how, between 19, Pearl Harbor evolved into a recognizable cultural shorthand that supported at least four specific meanings.Needless to say, pint-sized Bat-fans should steer clear.

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.

Crucially, where Jokers past have been defined by their humour and sadistic insanity, Arthur’s defining characteristic is that he’s mentally ill.

Phoenix engenders such powerful empathy for Fleck that some of the horrifying setbacks he faces, including a mental health care system that profoundly fails him, are genuinely upsetting.

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.

Going to deeper, darker and more disturbing places than any comic book movie to date, Joker isn’t just a captivating character study, it’s a superhero – or should that be supervillain? On multiple levels, it’s the most challenging, subversive and nihilistic comic book movie ever made.

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