Joker centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.
The movie has so many excellent scenes like the scene on the bus where he tries to make the kid laugh and then bursts into uncontrollable laughter or the scene where Arthur is beaten up by the kids or the scene where he shoots the three men on the subway or the scene where he goes on Murray’s TV show. The best scene of the movie is the scene where he is dancing on the stairs.
Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely brilliant as Arthur Fleck/Joker, the mentally ill and poor stand up comedian with a condition of uncontrollable laughter. He will definitely be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor and should deservedly win too. Robert De Niro is good as the talk show host Murray Franklin. Zazie Beetz looked cute and is good as Sophie, Arthur’s love interest. Frances Conroy is good as Penny, Arthur’s mentally and physically ill mother.
Screenplay by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver is excellent. Even though the movie is set in the fictional universe of Gotham City, the movie is so raw and feels so true to the real world. One can’t help but sympathize/empathize with Arthur, a mentally ill person who can’t get the drugs he needs because of funding cuts. When Arthur, who was abused as a child and who is constantly ridiculed and beaten up, hits back with his acts of violence it feels like he is revolting against the system.
Todd Phillips’ direction is excellent. The movie is grim, brutal and never lets up. Cinematography by Lawrence Sher adds to the gloomy atmosphere. Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir is excellent. Joker is dark, disturbing and thoroughly captivating. Joker is definitely one of the best movies of the year.
Highly RecommendedTags: Joaquin Phoenix Robert De Niro