The story of Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian who is bullied, isolated, abused, and cast aside by society and his slow decent into madness turning him into the clown prince of chaos we know as the Joker.
When the first trailer to this film was released, I was beyond excited. A fresh take on the Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and seeming having no sight of Batman, it certainly peeked my interest. The 70’s aesthetic, cinematic and gritty feel. It had all the right things to get me excited, but I was met with utter disappointment. Let’s start with the good(ish)
Director Todd Philips did a bold move in creating this film, creating a set origin for the Joker and something completely unexpected and original. In doing so, he made a film only serving a purpose of glorifying chaos and evil. As someone who is not a big fan of sequels/remakes, having a fresh take on something that is out of continuity with the larger super hero genre should be exhilarating. But after watching this I felt disgust and unease walking out of the theater thinking, “How did this even get made?”
The Cast was solid all around giving incredible performances. Joaquin Phoenix with a creepy, ferocious, and unforgettable performance, as well as Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, and others. All around it was a truly wonderful cast and each actor brought their all to their roles. Phoenix plays a character that has a slow decent into madness. He starts the film as one person and ends the film as someone on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. The transition from one to the other was flawlessly executed and I give props to him for that. He was constantly making you second guess his motives and making you feel uncomfortable not sure if you should feel bad for him or laugh at him.
The Cinematography is something that I have to touch on. It was beautifully shot. Every frame of this film had a massive amount of personality and volume that had me intrigued. The 70’s aesthetic helps this with the grimy street level city of Gotham and adding personality to every corner.
The soundtrack and sound design is also something that this film did well at. A very mellow dramatic score with a very high sound editing mix adding another depth to this film that really helped sell that Gotham was a real, living and breathing city. Every scene had a lot of detail put into it with lots of layers to create a truly unique space.
Now the bad. The entire idea of creating a film that glorifies chaos, anarchy, and evil is incredibly twisted to say the least and the fact that it uses a comic book character as its selling point to me feels like it only uses the character of the Joker to push an agenda through a film that could not not be made unless otherwise. Now, what is that agenda? In this film, we have Thomas Waynes, a wealthy businessman running for a governmental position to make his city a better place. Sound familiar? Throughout, he is constantly ridiculed for not thinking of the average man and only thinking of the rich to further push his own agenda, which is flat out false. See where I’m going?
Arthur Fleck was pushed over the edge and it turned him into a homicidal killer. He blames his pain, his past, his problems, his lack, everything, on those who are in power and treats it like they are the problem. That is where the current state of the world is. Blaming their problems on their president, their government, their boss, their God, anyone who is above them so they can blame them to justify their own behavior.
Overall, I can’t pull myself to say that I enjoyed this film. I wanted to walk out of the theater loving it and wanting to see it again, but I can’t. If you are interested in seeing this, you are better off never seeing it.
I’ll give Joker a 1/5.