Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) who lives with his mother Penny (Frances Conroy) and works as a clown and wants to be a stand-up comedian. This is a dark and serious movie which revolves around a man who is mentally ill and has a condition where he laughs uncontrollably, even in serious situations. Throughout the movie he is constantly tormented by society and mistreated by pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. He is punched in the face, kicked at while being helpless on the ground, and called names. He gains a sick, twisted sense of humor that revolves around death and chaos, making him ultimately take on the persona he is most known as, Joker.
This is honestly the best Joker origin story we could have got. The story couldn’t get any more darker than this and I love it for that. I mean, come on, we’re talking about the most iconic villain in comic book history. To choice to make this movie a dramatic psychological horror movie with bursts of violence that sticks with you for a while is the best choice they could have made with a Joker movie. And to top it all of, Joaquin Phoenix! Wow! What an actor! I’ve heard of praises for his performance months before the movie was even released and yet he still managed to surprised me. Oscar win fully deserved! I also want to point out the music choices in this movies. Phenomenal! White room by Cream, That’s life by Frank Sinatra and Smile by Jimmy Durante. Also, Joker’s theme song in this movie is haunting. And how could I not mention the talk show scene with the host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) towards the end of the movie. Honestly one of the best scenes ever put to film. I loved every minute of it.
Now, I do have issues with this movie. This is not a perfect movie by any means, no movie is, but, the only issue I have is one subplot. I’m not going to get into spoilers, but I’m glad they eventually got rid of it, they decided not to go that route, but, the whole subplot just slowed the movie down. Also one of the most common complaints about the movie is that it’s too similar to Martin Scorsese’s movies Taxi Driver and The king of comedy. This is not really an issue for me. Yes, I can see the similarities, but, honestly, it’s not that similar. I can knock the grade down a little bit for un-originality, but, I won’t. It doesn’t really have the feel of those two movies. Honestly that’s pretty much it when it comes to issues.
I can’t recommend this movie enough. If you somehow haven’t seen it yet, hopefully my spoiler-free review will convince you to finally watch it. It’s been a little over a year since this movie came out and I’ve already watched it 6 times and will watch it many more times. The story, the genre this movie goes for, the moral questions the movie asks of you, Joaquin Phoenix’s mesmerising performance! These are all the reasons why you should watch this movie. I just wished there wasn’t that one subplot that slowed the movie down and didn’t pay off at all so I could give this movie the 10/10* grade, but, as it stands, it’s a 9/10* for me.
Director: Todd Phillips
Written by: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Runtime: 117 minutes