Directed by: Todd Philips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy
I’m sure I have previous mentioned that superhero films are not really my cup of tea. There’s nothing about the fantasy of figures having super powers and saving the damsel in distress and avoiding a global catastrophe that floats my boat. There are exceptions to this rule: Fantastic Beasts and of course Deadpool, but who doesn’t love his sense humour! I’ll go as far to say I enjoyed Dark Knight (2008) but purely for the portrayal of the Joker by Heath Ledger (RIP), as the storyline didn’t grab me and left me then longing for more Joker on screen.
The Joker is an interesting character to play, he is the psychologically unhinged nemesis of Batman (the poor bloke, dressed in black, who is continually trying to save the fictional city of Gotham from its crime problem whilst being summoned by a giant light), but the actors who have played him (Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, Jack Nicholson) are the reason why I’m so interested in the Joker as a character, and also, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie is the ultimate Harley Quinn).
The trailer for Joker is an intriguing one. Instead of seeing him in his now usual appearance of a purple coat & macabre face paint, this film sees the man before the Joker, Arthur Fleck, his life in Gotham from living at home with his mother, his struggling career within various forms of comedy and the civil unrest within the city. It is a looooooong film and I actually enjoyed (in reflection) how looooong the film felt, as in hindsight it pushes the audience into feeling the depression that Arthur is finding himself in. Mixed with the social injustice that society is feeling due to the political standing, you can see and feel how the mental illness Arthur has, is pushed further into existence and his handle on it is slipping until finally, it reaches a climax.
I did feel bored for the majority of the feature length with the exception of the final twenty minutes, so be prepared for a long ride and certainly empty your bladder beforehand. Joaquin is sublime as Arthur Fleck, it is not an easy part to play and to put yourself into this character’s mindset for any length of time would be challenging so there is nothing I can say but applaud his performance.
Five minutes after watching Joker, I was very dismissive of it, but the more time passes, I realise it is actually is a piece of art. How the film projects emotions upon its audience is brilliant, and any fan of Batman/Gotham/Joker would be very impressed with this film so I take into account it is a little lost on me. I read about the media reporting obscene amounts of violence in this, but, in my opinion, there is very little difference in Joker than any other thriller/horror. Nothing made me feel uncomfortable or squeamish but is this also a sign that we are becoming accustom to it? Every piece of confrontation/violence was well within the Joker’s character and exactly how I would imagine him to act or react in the given situations so to tone this down would surely would result in a bad film. I still believe the film is far too long but the casting is fantastic and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is one to admire.
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