Joker Movie Review: Joaquin Phoenix's heartbreakingly humanising act will leave you flabbergasted

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix's scene-stealing act as Arthur Fleck interspersed with Todd Philips' risque attempt at humanising Joker is a win-win situation and will leave fans flabbergasted when they leave the theatre halls.
Joker Movie Review: Joaquin Phoenix's heartbreakingly humanising act will leave you flabbergasted Joker Movie Review: Joaquin Phoenix's heartbreakingly humanising act will leave you flabbergasted
  • 2
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Share on whatsapp

Joker

Joker Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

Joker Director: Todd Phillips

Joker Stars: 4/5

"Why so serious?," Joker gushed diabolically in Christopher Nolan's Batman universe that still rings a bell in our ears. Echoing the same is Arthur Fleck in Todd Philips' remorseful character sketch of Joker when he bellows, "I used to think my life was a tragedy. But now I realise, it's a comedy." It's almost impossible not to make the Joker comparison, given Heath Ledger's career-defining act. How do you top that? You don't! Instead, you let Joaquin Phoenix take charge of Arthur and use his acting prowess to give us a villain, that you uncharacteristically root for.

Joker was always amongst the highly anticipated releases of 2019 and with prominent reasoning. You have the guy who directed the Hangover series, you have one of the most iconic Batman nemesis and did I forget to mention the genius that is Joaquin Phoenix. Joker has had many cinematic interpretations but unlike Heath's Joker that never once made you sympathise with him, Phoenix's Joker makes almost a cult follower out of you. With every kill, you feel a sense of catharsis and become one with Gotham's vigilante. While from a realistic standpoint, you can't help but question Joker's ominous propaganda, from an artistic standpoint, you are hooked, line and sinker.

Joaquin has really taken the extra mile to showcase Arthur Fleck's innocence getting ripped apart one bully at a time. Whether it be a bunch of teenage delinquents who beat Arthur up and tear up his sign "Everything goes on," or even his own mother (brought to life by the effervescent Frances Conroy) who says, "Don't you have to be funny to be a comedian?" While Todd Philips and Scott Silver concoct a freshly cooked anti-superhero genre in their writing, Todd instead uses Joker's antics to explain Arthur's descent to madness. It's in the constant Russian Roulette between the varying degrees of laughter and the tippy-toe ballet song and dance sequences. The physical transformation by Joaquin, with his gut almost sticking out, makes you feel sick and pity for Arthur Fleck while the Norman Bates avatar, along with the gaudy makeup and piercing eyes make you want to look away.

(ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Joker Director Todd Phillips REVEALS why he wanted to make a film on Arthur Fleck's origin)

But it's not just Joaquin who makes Joker such a knockout movie, it's everything else that adds fire to his one-man act. It's the decaying of Gotham, riddled with figurative and literal garbage and rats. It's in the gloomy atmosphere that fills with fire, just like Arthur's soul is ripped apart piece by piece. It's the change in the heightened tempo by the masterful background score of Hildur Guðnadóttir to the carefully selected soundtrack that adds to the eeriness of Joker. It's the close-up shots of Arthur to the backward pov in his silly dance-style walk. By the end of the movie, you're left with a numb guttural feeling. It doesn't question you, just leaves you baffled. Ther ode to the frivolity of Taxi Driver (1976) and the imagination of The King of Comedy (1986) is shown by Todd through Arthur in utmost adoration.

It's also a visually pleasing delight to see Robert DeNiro play Fleck's idol and talk show host Murray Franklin as he's the arch stereotype of what Arthur wants to become, but can't. Zazie Beetz as Sophie intersperses in Arthur's life and humanises Gotham's villain. What's Joker without Batman and while we don't expect a showdown in Todd's directorial, there's enough Bruce Wayne mentions keeping the DC fans' blood intact.

At the end of the day, Joker is a subjective film, like comedy. While some will questions its intake on mental health, there will be some like me who just want to be left baffled at the end of the day. Joaquin Phoenix as Joker. What a concept. Oscars, are you listening?

Comments

A writing, directing, acting masterpiece. Read 'The Joker Wiki' before seeing the film, otherwise you may miss important points, like the imagined girlfriends scenes etc.
Cleaver! Should win Oscars for Screenplay and Best Actor. Important messages here - great messages for mental health awareness. May even get Oscar for Best Movie.

A writing, directing, acting masterpiece. Read 'The Joker Wiki' before seeing the film, otherwise you may miss important points, like the imagined girlfriends scenes etc.
Cleaver! Should win Oscars for Screenplay and Best Actor. Important messages here - great messages for mental health awareness. May even get Oscar for Best Movie.

Add new comment

close