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During the 1980s, a failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City while becoming an infamous psychopathic crime figure.
Joker – my review
The Joker is a DC Comics based movie directed by Todd Phillips, which received positive reviews and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Time for our review.
The Joker is a movie with huge expectations built around it. After the Venice Movie Festival and the top prize for Best Film, few still believed it was for real, because they were definitely exaggerating. Is it possible that Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover series, made the film outstanding? Oh, yeah! Phillips will surprise many when he tells a difficult, challenging and wildly ambitious story with a steady hand. How perfectly he bases it on nuance, perfect timing (especially in building tension, an atmosphere of horror accentuated by music), guiding the actors and sticking to a form reminiscent of 1970s cinema. Like Adam McKay, he moves from often-criticised comedies, which he does not look at with pity, to art cinema on a level rarely seen in major productions. The Joker is a very specific thing, because although it is not an efficient super-production, its reliance on comics and moderate cost give it a realisation masterpiece that takes it to the next level. Directors who make art films, even the best ones, often suffer from a lack of money to illustrate their ideasand Phillips has a good idea of what he wants to show and how he wants to do it so that it’s not simple or straightforward. He wants the story of the comic book Prince of crime to become a bizarre curio, because at the same time we love him, hate him and fear him, but at the same time it is frighteningly embedded in a credible reality that could be true. In many moments, Phillips proves that his workmanship is greatly underappreciated, because he displays an extraordinary sense of aesthetics, relies on the subtleties of the creation of characters and eventsand mesmerizes the viewer like the greatest directors of cinema. He turns out to be an extremely conscious filmmaker, feeling cinema in a unique way that at least alludes to the classics of the 1970s. he doesn’t let that overwhelm his story. It’s just a means to tell a story.
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We get a story about a man and his downfall that is full of ambiguity and full of scope for interpretation. Arthur Fleck is no ordinary comic villain. After the film, one might wonder if it could be called that? Phillips does not want to whitewash the cruel acts he is committing and does not make the character something he is not. Rather, it shows an individual in a world devoid of empathy, which becomes an important and point-scoring social commentary. Initially, Arthur is not bad because he is a troubled person who wants to do well, but life does not allow him to do so. It even arouses some form of sympathy. That’s why it’s not the typical Joker Genesis we might expect, because it’s not really about how he becomes that character. It’s relevant and present because it eventually leads to this, but it’s crucial to show how cruel the world has led to this. How life stifled any human reflexes of Arthur Fleck, who, though he meant well, slowly lost himself in the bestiality of reality. His story evokes a lot of emotion, but it also forces the viewer to constantly analyze it, break it down into factors. We know Arthur is ill, so maybe not everything we’re watching is real, maybe some of it is delusional? What is true, what is a lie? What will ultimately bring him to the boiling point and the birth of the Joker? The director brilliantly stages the tension, creates an increasingly dense atmosphereand subconsciously we know that he is on the verge. Watching this character and somehow searching for himself is something fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Especially when Arthur mentions how he’s never been happy in his life. As he becomes the Joker, he frees himself from the clutches of expectations, bonds and social rulesand begins to change and accept who he is and what influence he has. One scene even suggests that only being the Joker gives him some abstract sense of happiness and fulfillment. It’s not glorified because Fleck does terrible things in this film, but it does allow us to understand the Joker as a human being beyond just being a villain. No one is in any doubt that he becomes a character who is cruel, evil and causing horror, but it helps to understand why.
The Film leaves no illusions: it is a comic cinema. The plot is set in Gotham, with the Wayne family playing key roles, the director being inspired by a deadly prank and even Bruce himself appearing. However, this is not a sign of his comic prowess. Rather, it is the spirit of pictorial stories that is felt in the story or in the Joker himself. His ambiguity is perfectly encapsulated in this aspect, because although Phillips builds the character up to the point of being terrifyingly realistic, we still have the impression that this is the Joker who has the “something” we expect. The skillful eye of fans will even see some nuances in his creation that somehow appeal or pay homage to his predecessors, but it’s not about copying or lack of originality. This Joker is fresh, real and disturbing. It’s completely different from its on-screen predecessors, but it also feels like it has something to do with the comic underpinnings. This isn’t some guy who happens to be the Joker. The new interpretation, while realistic, is not dissociated from DC Comics. It is proof of how to create completely different types of cinema based on comic books or superheroes.
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Joaquin Phoenix has played a lot of great, outstanding and memorable roles in his career, but… he’s never played something so shocking. He had not created a creation so multi-layered before, in which minor changes in facial expressions, looks or all of his awe-inspiring physicality (the actor had lost so much weight for the role) would have made such a striking impression. Arthur Fleck as an actor is not a simple character, nor is he immediately understandable. Every aspect of its construction, developmentand the individual emotional and tense scenes are remembered and told straight: this is a role that will be talked about for years. His laugh… Shivers on the back because of the sound and context. Phoenix makes a similar impression to Heath Ledger, which is to observe an actor so immersed in his character that he is on the verge of losing himself in the role. It is often said then that he simply becomes his own hero. In some ways, Phoenix thanks to the plot context gives it a bigger and more meaningful feel, because many scenes will not be forgotten for long. Especially since it’s not a simple and easy – to-read film-there are moments that are cruel, brutally realistic that give the impression of pounding the viewer on the head. It’s expected because we feel it’s going to happen, but it works on many levels. Phillips uses these moments to bring about the birth of the Joker. They’re a tool that’s jarring, cringe-inducing and strangely memorable, but it’s hard to really say why. Maybe it’s because of the fictional circumstances and the reasons for these scenes? It works strangely, because even if the violence on screen has become indifferent to you, the one here has a profound effect. Despite the appearance of scenes of violence, there are few to make them more relevant to reception, but they undoubtedly stay with the viewer for a long time.
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images source: press materials
Original title Joker
IMDb Rating 8.5 823,095 votes
TMDb Rating 8.2 13,617 votes