Hello, hello! My dad and I have been looking forward to seeing Joker and spent an afternoon together bearing witness to the amazing spectacle created by Joaquin Phoenix. The buzz on this flick has been strong, especially with talk already of Phoenix bagging Best Actor at the Academy Awards and an eight minute standing ovation at a Venice film festival. Within mere seconds, I understood that the hype was real, because Phoenix’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen in years. Take a look at the trailer and, without giving spoilers away, let’s discuss
^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!
Arthur Fleck, AKA the Joker – a villain that everyone loves to hate and was famously portrayed by the late Heath Ledger was gifted with a two hour film showing just how exactly he came to be. From the lack of care from his delusional mother, severe abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, and a penchant for uncontrollable fits of laughter, no one can say that the Joker had it easy.
And, now, as a middle aged man with a love for vaudeville trying to make his way in the hardened Gotham City as a hired clown and stand up comic, things seem far from hopeful for Arthur Fleck. Mentally unstable, down on his luck, and making the claim that he never felt like he “existed”, Joker explores the transition from man to villain. Showcasing every beating, disappointment, and uncovered truths from the lies he’s been fed his whole life, Fleck begins a dangerous downward spiral into a life of crime amidst a city devoured by darkness and political unrest.
What follows? Pure and total anarchy, just as the newly formed Joker likes it.
This movie was absolutely haunting to me. Joaquin Phoenix, who lost fifty pounds to play this role, was an emaciated skeleton of a man, which made his screeching high pitched laugh even more unsettling. Blatantly placing his violent behaviors on his mental illnesses was also a disturbing one and it begs the question of if this movie is a “safe” one to be viewed by the general public. Is it a popcorn flick that tells a backstory of one of the most well known villains in history? Or, could it be viewed as a manifesto for the bullied and scared to make a stand – especially in the current political state we are in as we speak.
Regardless of your views on the issue, there is no denying that it was a well made film with a stellar performance by Phoenix. The imagery of streets filled with garbage, rain pelting down, and a man in painted face and a suit is one that I will not be forgetting any time soon.
Joker took its sweet time building up and by the final action packed scenes, the tension was ready to be cut with a knife. This resulted in a simply delicious viewing experience of seeing all of the dominoes that were so carefully placed throughout the film begin to topple to form the big picture. My dad and I left the theater feeling nothing short of shook up. And, honestly, there were some scenes that were genuinely hard to watch. But, I think that was the whole point of Joker and every tense, gut wrenching moment was a testament to that.
Not for the faint of heart but a damn good flick, I’m giving Joker a prestigious ten out of ten stars. Love it or hate it, Joker is going to be talked about, analyzed, and either applauded or frowned upon for years to come. Joaquin Phoenix gave an iconic performance and I’m already ready to watch it again.
What were your thoughts on Joker? Who is your favorite comic book villain? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah
Featured Image By: IMDB