Since her inception in 1992, Harley Quinn has been one of Batman’s most intriguing and alluring rogues. She’s the ultimate fan girl to the point of lunacy, and her cunning along with her ability to match wits with just about anyone make her one of the most fascinating figures of contemporary culture. It’s no shock that director Peter Dukes sought to explore the inner most psychology of Harley, as she’s titillated just about everyone. And it’s satisfying that director Dukes is able to convey Harley’s persona so well. Despite the fact that Batman never appears, “Sweet Madness” is a pretty sick and brilliant fan film that puts Harley front and center.
She’s the ultimate broken doll who just can’t do right by Mr. J, no matter what; but damned if she just continues trying. Much like it was depicted in “Mad Love,” Harley is a wonderful criminal, but also something of a battered spouse who is under the control of the Joker. She’s deluded herself in to believing that she can win him over by every gesture, despite the fact that he is intent on destroying her from the inside out every single time. When we meet Harley in “Sweet Madness,” she’s taken the Mayor of Gotham and his family hostage, and is set to exchange them for her one and only true love. When the exchange is pulled off, Harley learns something about Mr. J’s feelings toward her, while also garnering some insight about herself that will decide their future together. The casting of Madeline Wade as Harley Quinn is pitch perfect, as Wade’s performance is nothing short of amazing.
Much like Harley, she oozes pure sex appeal, while also conveying her utter insanity that’s manifested through her costume and make up. She’s a walking, talking, and ticking psychopath whose eyes fill with desperation the moment we see her, and Wade pulls off a wonderful job in commanding the screen and keeping all eyes on her. The added touch is her adopting of the character’s accent originated by Arleen Sorkin. Micah Fitzgerald also impresses as a new and unique take on the Joker, a man who loathes Harley, and delights in breaking her apart, no matter how far she goes to please him. Wade’s take on Quinn steals the film from the moment we see her, and it’s a thrill to see the character be given justice on screen that she deserves. Peter Dukes really has a handle on Quinn and the dynamic she garners with the Joker, painting a twisted and fractured romance. Batman fans need apply.