Joker is a decent movie, but I wanted more from the story because it was style over substance. Nevertheless, Joaquin Phoenix’s committed performance kept the film afloat.
Joaquin Phoenix gives a monstrous performance as he transforms into the true ‘Clown Prince of Crime’. Phoenix’s acting is powerful, bold, and Oscar-worthy. Reportedly, Phoenix even lost 52 pounds for the role of a lifetime. Joker blends fantasy and reality as we dwell into the social unrest of society. It’s a film that creates a lot of chaos and in the end, that’s what The Joker would have wanted. Joker is a dark character study that ultimately showcased Phoenix's tremendous acting chops. Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) leaps into a cynical evolution of one of the comics' most iconic villains ever. Yet, Phillips struggled to develop a cohesive vision, both in writing and directing. For better or for worst, this is a film that people will be arguing over for years to follow.
Joker relies heavily on past Scorsese classics like Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1983). The film follows a standalone origin story of Arthur Fleck (an incredible Phoenix), a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fractured society. Arthur is a clown-for-hire by day and an aspiring stand-up comic at night. Yet one gloomy evening, Arthur makes a bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events. Phillips strips away The Joker's past vagueness, of someone who has a mysterious upbringing, only defined as the very essence of evil. Instead, Joker presents us with a man struggling with mental illness and someone who has been forgotten by society. Joker wants you to feel the main character's pain. I am not sure if this was the right direction to take, but Phoenix's strong commitment to the role made me feel that pain. Joker is a grim film that dips into the face of madness. This is not a movie for everyone and I understand those who write it off. But, we should take note of how this film has been annoyingly keeping its footing in this awards season.
Joker premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival in August, where it won the Golden Lion (Best Film). Joker also premiered at the 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September, where Joaquin Phoenix won the TIFF Tribute Actor Award. I wouldn't be surprised if Joker nabs several Oscar nominations next year. We'll have to wait and see. Since being released in October, Joker has grossed over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to pass the billion-dollar mark at the worldwide box office. This is a huge accomplishment for R-rated movies everywhere. In the end, Joker is a movie that possess a lot of chaos, but thanks to Phoenix's powerful portrayal, the film's dark cinematography, and a haunting score it all kept me fairly intrigued. "I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a comedy." This Joker is no laughing matter, as Phoenix's incarnation into the true ‘Clown Prince of Crime’ becomes a reality. Or, in the end, was it all a fantasy?
Joker is rated R (Restricted). For strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.
Directed by Todd Phillips, AKA 'The Hangover' Guy.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Robert De Niro.
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