While DC fans were initially pumped to see see many of their favorite comic book characters on the big screen for the first time (Hey Harley!), reactions to the film mostly ranged from meh to ohmygoshsomepleasegaugeoutmyeyes. Joel Kinnaman, who played Suicide Squad leader Rick Flag, reportedly stopped reading reviews because “they were not kind.” Even Jared Leto, who played the iconic supervillain Joker, was so unhappy with the film that he didn’t even watch it and had exactly two words to say to Warner Bros. (We’ll let you guess which two!). Following the film’s release, there was definitely a want/need for seeing our beloved DC characters do… something else.
Enter The Halvis Brothers‘ short fan film The Laughing Man, which debuted on YouTube August 2, 2016 (the same week Suicide Squad hit theaters).
Inspired by Scott Snyder’s Batman: Death of the Family, the film follows the Laughing Man (aka The Joker, portrayed by Zach Avery) and his counterpart Quinn (aka Haley Quinn, played by Whitney Able) as they torture a doctor at a psychiatric ward. The NSFW/Hard R short film clocked in at just over 20 minutes, and it masterfully made every minute second and scene count.
They say the devil is in the details, and that is certainly the case here.
From an artistic and technical stand point, the film was solid. I must have done 2529 screenshots of the film, because every image was beautiful, albeit haunting. Even though there were only 2 main sets, so much care and attention went into the background details: a blood smile on a television screen in the torture room, for instance. The film makers also experimented with different mediums, including animated “flashback” scenes, that really made the viewer feel like they were actually in this topsy-turvy world controlled by the Laughing Man.
This project was strong on every level.
The plot was clear and concise. It knew it was a short film, and didn’t cram anything in that didn’t need to be there. In doing so, the performances and characters were really able to shine. Avery was so disturbing as the Laughing Man. Reminiscent of Andrew Scott‘s Moriarty on Sherlock, he managed to insight fear and tension without even raising his voice. I could not get his face(s) out of my head, even long after I finished watching the film! Able as Quinn was everything I loved about Harley Quinn from Batman: the Animated Series. Her voice was perfect and her gestures were subtle but spot on. There’s a scene where Avery and Able are dancing, and mid-move, he just lets her Thump! on the floor, completely capturing the essence of the Joker and Harley Quinn’s complicated relationship: she trusts and obsessively dotes on him, while he merely uses her for his theatrical antics. Such a simple but powerful shot that conveyed so much about the characters’ psyche! Bravo!
Any hard feelings you may have had about Harley or the Joker after watching Suicide Squad will immediately disappear upon watching this short film.
I definitely recommend The Laughing Man to you, GeekGirl World! Watch it below:
What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!
Want more Fan Film Friday fun, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other FFF reviews here!