Release Date: Oct 4th, 2019
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Todd Phillips
Release Format: Theatrical
Joker is a thought-provoking film that takes a deep dive into mental health, class-warfare, and more. It has more tension holding it together than the button of “those pants” that can’t fit you anymore.
Joker centers around Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a troubled man living in the crime-infested city of Gotham. The story follows his descent into being swallowed up by dirty streets of Gotham to come out as of it’s most notorious criminals.
Honestly, any review won’t do this film justice as everyone takes away something different. Which, is a feat in itself when so many people can interpret scenes or even motivations in many unique ways.
While the Joker may only ever have “negative thoughts”, I feel quite the opposite when thinking on this project. It has so many things going for it, from the gorgeous direction to a great lead.
However, there is this feeling of wanting more once the credits hit.
All I (Mostly) Have Are Good Thoughts
Joker does a great job of showcasing the dirty and grimy world of Gotham on screen. It looks like this whole movie was sponsored by a dumpster and the crumbs in between your car seat. I’ve never seen a movie look so beautifully horrible. Everything is so well shot like food in a commercial, except, this food looks disgusting and you would still be enticed to take a bite.
It is no surprise that Joker went crazy. If you ever been driven insane by living with dirty roommates, multiply that by millions of people and you have this iteration of Gotham.
Todd Phillips may have directed the Hangover but this is not a comedy. This is a drama and character study of a mind that is more exciting than this film showcases at times. There is so much buildup to the explosion that when it happens, it is sad how quick the fireworks disappear as great as they are.
Phoenix carries the film on his back, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wearing a back brace underneath the costume. There are so many small nuances in his performances whether it be the little ticks of sadness on his face when he laughs or the empty stare that tells 1000 words. His performance is going be dissected for many years to come and be a hot topic if he or Heath Ledger played the Clown Prince better.
That is also a problem of the movie as the characters are thin in terms of they only seem to be there for Arthur/Joker to react to. I couldn’t tell you a single name of any of the other faces in the film even if Harley Quinn held a giant mallet over my head. Everyone does a good job but nobody stands out enough to write about.
Only For The Realest
The music in the film is fantastic, adding a ton to every scene the horns or any other instrument pops up in. The sound is as much as a character as Arthur is the score can be felt in every scene just builds and builds.
One aspect of the film I appreciated was how it plays with what is going on with Arthur. We are watching through the eyes of a madman and have to analyze/ second guess not only everything we see, but also hear. The ending might confuse viewers as it plays with the “multiple choice” nature of the character and changes the entire second watch.
When the transformation Joker takes place, the film gets a shot of energy and laughter the film needed. He is mesmerizing and a cult of personality that you can’t take your eyes off like a couple fighting in public.
Unfortunately, he is not on the screen too long, which adds to that feeling I mentioned earlier of wanting more. While the film is good, it doesn’t kick into the next gear until Joker arrives, which is pretty late in the game. It’s like watching a Spider-Man movie where Spidey is just a cameo.
Run Or Walk To The Theatre
Verdict: Joker is an expertly crafted filn on a technical level with excellent lead and awesome cinematography. Although I was engaged throughout the film, I couldn’t help but feel something missing in this mad tale.
The film has a great setup, yet stumbles when it comes to the execution. The payoff of when the Clown Prince arrives is great, but is short-lived and left me wanting more of it.
This is truly a cinematic experience that is worth a ticket this weekend, just don’t expect some big blockbuster. Joker may not be the best of the year but it’ll leave an impression in your mind that’ll last a long time.
What’s your favorite iteration of the Joker? What’s the best DC-based film to be released so far? What are the perfect actor and comic character combo that hasn’t happened yet? Leave your comments!
- Joaquin Phoenix gives an Oscar-worthy performance
- Beautiful direction
- Great Sound and Music
- Non-existent secondary characters
- Too much build-up, not enough payoff
- See line 1 & 2^