FOR MANY YEARS, THE ONLY OPTION I thought I had when I felt someone had done me wrong, was to retaliate. There was no other thought in my mind on how I could react to the occurrence. I can remember back in elementary school when a classmate called me a nasty name, referring to my size and instead of saying something back, I stood there silently. It was because I was already trying to figure out how I could hurt him. Once I decided what I was going to do, I sat back and waited several weeks because I did not want the classmate to make any connection between calling me a name and something bad befalling him right after. So, I went about my business each school day, while discreetly staying out of his way as I plotted my revenge. Once I formulated my plan and felt confident, I could pull it off, I waited for our next recess time to spring my plan into action. As the class lined up to follow the teacher out of the room, I lingered in the back of the room. With the students focused on getting outside to the playground, I purposely walked by that kid’s desk. Quickly lifting the desk top I found his pencil sharpener and took it. As far as I could tell no one saw me take it. I kept it in my coat pocket all day until I got home, where I took out the hammer from our toolbox and smashed the pencil sharpener in our backyard. INTO MY EARLY YEARS OF EMPLOYMENT, I still had that same mindset of essentially an “eye for an eye.” I worked with a woman who falsely accused me of something that I had never done. The reason she did it was to get the job I was working to get. I remember how furious I was when I found out she was “bad mouthing” me. For the next eighteen months I not only gave her the silent treatment, but I also did a variety of things to annoy her. Periodically, I would bring in food treats like ice cream bars, candy or bagels. Instead of putting them in the lunchroom, I would go around to each employee in the department and offer it to them except for this one backstabbing individual. She pretended it did not bother her; however, as the weeks and months went by, other employees who I was friends with would tell me how irritated this employee was at not being offered any food. I relished in the news and kept it up until she finally apologized me. I accepted it but I never let my guard down around her. Because of my past intensity to seek out revenge, I was able to understand the main character’s motivation in this dramatic western. HEARING THE MAN HE HAD BEEN hunting down all these years was getting out of jail, there was only one thing on Nat Love’s, played by Jonathan Majors (White Boy Rick, Lovecraft Country-TV), mind; he wanted to hunt him down and kill him. With Zazie Beetz (Joker, Deadpool 2) as Mary Fields, RJ Cyler (Power Rangers, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Jim Beckworth, Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Our Family Wedding) as Trudy Smith and Idris Elba (The Suicide Squad, Concrete Cowboy) as Rufus Buck; the wonderful cast was a joy to watch as they committed to their characters that were based on true individuals. The script was a little too long and at times I felt the writers and director were paying tribute to Quentin Tarantino; but once things clicked in, I was thoroughly entertained. I will say I do not like modern language being injected into a period piece, but there was not much of it. I also enjoyed the way the story took a turn. Imagining the amount of energy Nat had to keep up to fulfill his quest, I am so glad I discovered other options to my reactions to a person I perceived had done me wrong. There were scenes of blood and violence.
SADLY, IT DID CROSS MY MIND IF any of the theater patrons were looking at me as a threat; these are the times we live in now. I was the only one, as far as I could see, who was wearing a jacket inside the theater. Following my usual routine, I was standing outside in the hallway of the theater waiting for the previews to begin. I was observing the people walking in and then guessing if they were here to see the same movie as me. There was so much buzz about today’s film, I assumed it would only make people more curious to see it. With the film being shown in several of the movie theaters of the multiplex, I watched as the people filtered into the individual theaters that lined the long hallway. Sure enough, there were several couples who had their children with them to see this picture. I cannot tell you how much this always upsets me; taking young children to R rated films, especially when the rating is meant for the level of violence depicted in the movie. As I was looking at these families, I wondered what affect this film would have on these young kids. From there my mind began wandering off, where I started remembering some of my classmates when I was back in school. IT SEEMED AS IF EACH CLASSROOM had at least one bully, one creepy and one scary student. I think I mentioned in a past movie review a student I knew who was unkind to animals. He was not someone I ever associated with and for good reason. There was also a classmate who found it funny to make snowballs with a rock in the center of them. He equally enjoyed throwing these snowballs at kids and buses. I can still remember the feeling I had around certain students; they never showed any remorse or concern for the individuals they harmed. They scared me, causing me to always be cautious around them. Anytime I would see one of them in the hallway between classes, I would veer off as far as I could to the side, so as not to get in close contact with them. As I am writing this review, I am now recalling how one of these scary students wanted to enlist in the military so he could kill people. What I have just written in this review is to show you how today’s dramatic, crime thriller affected me when I went to see it. BEFORE THERE WAS A BATMAN THERE was Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix (Her, You Were Never Really Here), who wanted to be a stand-up comic. How in the world did telling jokes turn into a deadly profession? Find out in this film festival winning movie. With Robert De Niro (The Comedian, Dirty Grandpa) as Murray Franklin, Zazie Beetz (Geostorm, Deadpool 2) as Sophie Dumond, Frances Conroy (The Aviator, Six Feet Under-TV) as Penny Fleck and Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider, Person of Interest-TV) as Thomas Wayne; this film was disturbing to watch. Joaquin was unbelievable in the role. Having lost 52 pounds, I had a hard time looking at Joaquin; most of his bones had become prominent. The story plotted out a logical progression in the transformation of his character; however, there were times I felt it was predictable and reminiscent of a couple of other films I had seen in the past. With both the script and the filming having a darkness to it; I could understand the concerns people have expressed about this origin story. Ultimately this is a fictional film movie based on a cartoon character; but, it certainly will make you wonder.