Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ Features Controversial Song Choice

Joker Joaquin Phoenix Warner Bros

A song that is featured in Todd Phillips’ Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix is currently the subject of controversy.


There is a dance sequence in the film where Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck dons his full Joker costume and makeup. This sequence has been featured in one of the film’s posters and first trailer where the titular character is shown dancing on the stairs near his home. The song that plays is “Rock and Roll Part 2” by Gary Glitter.

For the uninitiated, Gary Glitter is a former British Glam Rock singer who was charged in 1999 for downloading child pornography. Glitter also faced criminal charges and deportation from several countries due to suspected child abuse. Gary Glitter was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2015 after being found guilty of attempted rape and four counts of indecent assault.

This issue regarding the use of “Rock and Roll Part 2” is just another element of controversy surrounding the Joker movie. Although early reviews including Umberto Gonzalez’s review have praised the film as bold and daring with a stellar performance from Joaquin Phoenix, some have expressed concern about the film’s existence due to its controversial nature centering on a crazed psychopath that is known to commit evils including but not limited to murder. Some have expressed particular concern that the film is “incel friendly” and may inspire some men to commit acts of violence.

What do you make of the addition of this song? Do you think it is a step too far for the film? Or perhaps the fact that it seems willing to approach uncomfortable territory adds to whatever artistic/social statement it is trying to make? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to continue following Heroic Hollywood for all the latest news regarding Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.

Here is the official synopsis for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker:

Director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

Opening in theaters on October 4, 2019, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron, Brett Cullen, Bryan Callen, and Robert De Niro.


Noah Villaverde

Noah Villaverde

Cinema lover. Saxophone player. Coffee consumer. Chronic complainer. Oh, I also write. #TeamHeroic