The imminent release of Joker has reinvigorated a debate that has been going on since the grimy days of Fight Club: How can you make a movie about toxic masculinity without falling into the Hollywood trap of glamorizing the subject? How can you prevent it from appealing to that very demographic of unthinking, attention-starved goblins?
Yeah, that'll do.
Coming out on the very same day as Joker, Cuck tells the tale of disaffected 20-something Ronnie (Zachary Ray Sherman) as he journeys down the bleached rabbit hole of right-wing extremism. An unemployed, sex-starved army reject saddled with caring for his Old-Testament-loving husk of a mother, Ronnie has no purpose in life until he becomes an alt-right YouTuber, following in the footsteps of his favorite right-wing celebrity, who looks like an even more rodeo-clownish hybrid of Alex Jones and Steven Crowder.
To avoid the sins of its predecessors, this movie doesn't give the audience a muscle-bound Edward Norton whose swastika'd bosom they can nuzzle. Even the trailer exudes what a sad, drab slog through life the average troll faces. Ronnie hates minorities because he straight-up sucks at not being privileged. "You can't be proud to be white and male anymore," he sighs at one point.
Still, the movie seems to want to explore the roots of the alt-right/incel condition with empathy. Broken systems haven't given Ronnie the right tools to not get himself ejected from every Denny's in a 20-mile radius. And if you want to know how close Cuck hits to home, the laundry list of angry, deflective (antisemitic) comments on the trailer's YouTube page seem to indicate "uncomfortably so." And all indications seem to be that Ronnie is, in the end, unredeemable -- something any sympathizers seem to realize all too well. Because c'mon, you know how this story ends.
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