PATIENT J

3 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 34 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

Brace yourselves, DC fanboys—you’ve got a whole new reason to cheer thanks to Aaron Schoenke.

“Patient J”, which came with “Batman Legends”, a four minute long almost-trailer of some of Schoenke’s other work, is the story of one of Arkham Asylum’s biggest names, the Joker. Who, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last several decades and aren’t already familiar with the iconic comic classic, is the all around criminal mastermind (depending on what you’re reading or watching at the time, he could be anything from a master thief to a serial killer to a terrorist) who’s been terrorizing Gotham City for what amounts to years.

But now, he’s about to be interviewed by the magnificently-named Henny Youngman, a psychologist at Arkham who’s supposedly setting up a book on Joker’s storied career as one of Gotham’s elite criminals.

And what will follow from there is a surprise the likes of which have not been seen recently.

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way first. This is a fan film. Created by a fan with an almost pathological love of the subject matter. It’s clear to anyone who watched “Patient J” that Schoenke knew what he was doing.

The scripting is crisp, the dialogue a plain joy, the costuming is just unbelievable—almost professional in its design. Sure, Batman looks a little more Adam West rather than Christian Bale, but still—it’s low budget fan film. Cut them a little slack, huh? I tell you with no small certainty that if Schoenke were writing the comics, they would come out on par with the best in the series, handily.

I found myself wishing that he’d done feature length. Warner needs to be watching this guy like a hawk—he put this together on a wink and a prayer and, quoth the IMDB, five grand. It’s truly amazing, what he managed to do for such little resources. I would love to see what he could do with a decent budget and professional-grade material.

Frankly, what he’s got out now beats most of the “Batman” sequels.

But this is most of the problem. This will never be found on video store shelves. My intellectual property law isn’t as sharp as it could be, but I find myself wondering just how legal this was to begin with. It’s going nowhere beyond the YouTubes and suchlike where you can find it now.

The only thing I can say following a viewing of “Patient J” is, Aaron Schoenke, please, bring us an original feature length film.

I for one will be eagerly awaiting it.



Posted on August 2, 2006 in Reviews by
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