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Joker

2019  118 MN


 8.0



Joker on IMDb
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Todd Phillips
  Director




During the 1980s, a failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City while becoming an infamous psychopathic crime figure.

 Release Date

October 2, 2019

 Runtime

1h58m (118 min)


 Top Billed Cast

 Joaquin Phoenix
 Arthur Fleck / Joker
 Robert De Niro
 Murray Franklin
 Zazie Beetz
 Sophie Dumond
 Frances Conroy
 Penny Fleck
 Brett Cullen
 Thomas Wayne
 Shea Whigham
 Detective Burke


 Written by

Scott Silver Writer
Bob Kane Characters
Todd Phillips Writer
Bill Finger Characters
Jerry Robinson Characters

 Videos




 Cast

Joaquin Phoenix
  Arthur Fleck / Joker
Robert De Niro
  Murray Franklin
Zazie Beetz
  Sophie Dumond
Frances Conroy
  Penny Fleck
Brett Cullen
  Thomas Wayne
Shea Whigham
  Detective Burke
Bill Camp
  Detective Garrity
Glenn Fleshler
  Randall
Leigh Gill
  Gary
Josh Pais
  Hoyt Vaughn
Marc Maron
  Gene Ufland
Sondra James
  Dr. Sally
Murphy Guyer
  Barry O'Donnell
Douglas Hodge
  Alfred Pennyworth
Dante Pereira-Olson
  Bruce Wayne
Sharon Washington
  Social Worker
Hannah Gross
  Young Penny
Frank Wood
  Dr. Stoner
Brian Tyree Henry
  Carl (Arkham Clerk)
April Grace
  Arkham Psychiatrist
Carl Lundstedt
  Wall Street Three
Michael Benz
  Wall Street Three
Gary Gulman
  Comedian
Sam Morril
  Open Mic Comic
Chris Redd
  Comedy Club Emcee
Mandela Bellamy
  Mother on Bus
Greer Barnes
  Haha's Clown
Ray Iannicelli
  Haha's Clown
Bryan Callen
  Haha's Stripper
Peter Benson
  Good Morning Host
Evan Rosado
  Street Kid
Mike Troll
  Clown Protestor
Jane Fergus
  IBN Anchorwoman
David Gibson
  WBC News Anchor
Jeff McCarthy
  NCB Anchor
Kim Brockington
  NCB Co-Anchor
Michael-Scott Druckenmiller
  Paramedic
John Cenatiempo
  Aftermath Police Officer
Keith Buterbaugh
  Band Leader
James Ciccone
  Murray Franklin Band
Richard Baratta
  Murray Franklin Band
Jolie Chan
  Street Worker
Mary Kate Malat
  Murray Franklin Intern
Adrienne Lovette
  Middle Aged Woman
Justin Theroux
  Ethan Chase (uncredited)
Alissa Bourne
  Anna (uncredited)
Jamaal Burcher
  Hospital Visitor / Mfs Audience (uncredited)
Dj Nino Carta
  Orderly (uncredited)
John Cashin
  Arkham Patient (uncredited)
Jason John Cicalese
  Protester / Rioter (uncredited)
Brendan Patrick Connor
  Mr. Slotnick (uncredited)
Blaise Corrigan
  Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Dennis Jay Funny
  Gotham Citizen (uncredited)
Joseph Hernandez
  Protester / Rioter (uncredited)
Ben Heyman
  Protestor (uncredited)

 Crew


Scott Silver
  Writer
Bruce Berman
  Executive Producer
Bob Kane
  Characters
Mark Friedberg
  Production Design
Lawrence Sher
  Director of Photography
Lawrence Sher
  Cinematography
Laura Ballinger
  Supervising Art Director
Michael E. Uslan
  Executive Producer
Lisa Dennis
  Post Production Supervisor
Tod A. Maitland
  Sound Mixer
Randall Poster
  Music Supervisor
Timothy Healy
  Lighting Technician
Richard Baratta
  Executive Producer
Mark Bridges
  Costume Design
Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  Producer
Walter Hamada
  Executive Producer
Bradley Cooper
  Producer
Todd Phillips
  Director
Todd Phillips
  Producer
Todd Phillips
  Writer
David Webb
  Co-Producer
David Webb
  First Assistant Director
Geoffrey Haley
  Steadicam Operator
Geoffrey Haley
  "A" Camera Operator
Dean A. Zupancic
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Carla Raij
  Unit Production Manager
Kay Georgiou
  Hair Department Head
Peter Epstein
  Stunts
Bill Finger
  Characters
Ryan Webb
  Assistant Chief Lighting Technician
Brice R. Parker
  Visual Effects Producer
Jeff Atmajian
  Orchestrator
Jeff Groth
  Editor
Theo Sena
  Set Decoration Buyer
Kris Moran
  Set Decoration
Joseph Garner
  Executive Producer
Nicki Ledermann
  Makeup Department Head
G. A. Aguilar
  Stunt Coordinator
Niko Tavernise
  Still Photographer
Aaron L. Gilbert
  Executive Producer
Airon Armstrong
  Stunt Double
Hildur Guðnadóttir
  Original Music Composer
George Drakoulias
  Music Supervisor
John Joseph Thomas
  Sound Effects Editor
Jerry Popolis
  Hairstylist
Joel Weaver
  Assistant Property Master
Dan O'Connell
  Foley Artist
Brian Adler
  Visual Effects
Sandy Hamilton
  Property Master
Jerry Robinson
  Characters
John T. Cucci
  Foley Artist
Alan Robert Murray
  Supervising Sound Editor
Tom Ozanich
  Sound Designer
Tom Ozanich
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Willard Overstreet
  Foley Editor
Jason Cloth
  Co-Executive Producer
Sam Hutchins
  Location Manager
Jeff Brink
  Special Effects Coordinator
Matthew Jeffrey Sama
  Assistant Art Director
Larry Kaplan
  Unit Publicist
Steve Ramsey
  Chief Lighting Technician
Ryan Murphy
  Sound Engineer
Renee Burke
  Script Supervisor
Kira Roessler
  Supervising ADR Editor
Kira Roessler
  Supervising Dialogue Editor
Sunday Englis
  Key Makeup Artist
Carla White
  Makeup Artist
Darren Maynard
  Sound Effects Editor
Cameron Steenhagen
  Dialogue Editor
Jason Ruder
  Supervising Music Editor
Frank Alfano
  Stunts
Robert Pyzocha
  Assistant Art Director
Will Scheck
  Greensman
Michael J. Prate
  Grip
Tom Prate
  Key Grip
Meghan Currier
  Music Coordinator
Gregory Irwin
  First Assistant "A" Camera
Unsun Song
  Sound Mix Technician
Martin Lowry
  Grip
Josh Lakatos
  Stunts
Mitchell Beck
  Key Hair Stylist
Shayna Markowitz
  Casting
Jeffrey D. McDonald
  Assistant Art Director
Monica Ruiz-Ziegler
  Costumer
Thomas Aquino
  Transportation Co-Captain
Tim Metivier
  First Assistant "B" Camera
Patrice Cormier
  Visual Effects Producer
Jerry Yuen
  Utility Sound
Stephen Izzi
  Stunts
Jeff Mee
  First Assistant Editor
Michael Dressel
  Foley Supervisor
Richard Burden
  Stunts
Ray Neapolitan
  Assistant Editor
Timothy Metzger
  Leadman
Lawrence Bell
  Tailor
Joan Altman
  Production Accountant
Henry Antonacchio
  Head Carpenter
Michael Auszura
  Assistant Art Director
Dan Decelle
  Set Dresser
Roman Greller
  Set Dresser
Candis Heiland
  Set Dresser
Erica Hohf
  Assistant Art Director
Hugh Sicotte
  Concept Artist
Joe Taglairino
  Set Dresser
Lauren Rockman
  Assistant Art Director
Connell Burke
  Lighting Technician
Jeremy Marks
  Second Assistant Director
Thomas J. Cabela
  Visual Effects Editor
Miccah Underwood
  Art Department Coordinator
Abby Walton
  Assistant Costume Designer
Tania Ribalow
  Key Makeup Artist
John Campbell
  Lighting Technician
Richard Duarte
  Foley Mixer
Todd Giresi
  Best Boy Grip
Thomas J. O'Connell
  ADR Mixer
Daniel Kresco
  Scoring Mixer
Michael Scott
  Boom Operator
Aimee Dombo
  Assistant Art Director
Daniel Waldman
  Music Editor
Grant Wilfley
  Extras Casting
Edwin Rivera
  Visual Effects Supervisor
Jack Cucci
  Foley Mixer
Tony Pilkington
  Sound Engineer
Christian Wenger
  Sound Effects Editor
Doug Facciponti
  Special Effects Supervisor
Benjamin J. Stern
  Assistant Location Manager
Wilson Rivas
  Craft Service
Sarah Guenther
  Second Assistant "B" Camera
Kevin R.W. Murray
  Foley Editor
Michael Scarola
  Grip
Michael Scarola
  Key Construction Grip
Mathew Giampa
  Visual Effects Supervisor
Mariella Navarro
  Art Department Coordinator
Anjay Nagpal
  Co-Executive Producer

 Trivia

- Joaquin Phoenix lost 52 pounds (24.5 kg) for this role, in only three months (between July and September 2018).
- The pathology of Arthur is a real one. Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a condition that's characterized by episodes of sudden uncontrollable and inappropriate laughing or crying. Pseudobulbar affect typically occurs in people with certain neurological conditions or injuries, which might affect the way the brain controls emotion.
- While the overall budget was $62.5 million, the production budget (before advertising, distribution and promotion) was only $35 million.
- The stairs seen multiple times in the film became a tourist attraction. The stairs are located at 1165 Shakespeare Ave, The Bronx, NY 10452, USA.
- Shooting started on September 10, 2018 and ended on December 3, 2018.
- In a cut scene, Sophie was supposed to be seen watching Arthur on the Miller show. This means Arthur did not kill her (or her child) after their final scene together.
- Shot under working title Romero.
- Joker became the first R-rated movie to gross more than $1 billion.

 Quotes

 New Quote

 Reviews


 New Review

Smile
By Jack Anderson on November 17, 2019
 9

THE TONE
Gotham, 1970's. The mood is set. We are taken back to a New York era where peep shows and criminals were co-existing and when people better had to walk on the sunlit side of the street. But the dark is spreading and decency has vanished.
From the first shot, we are taken aback towards one of the best era of filmmaking, the 1970's. The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Dog Day Afternoon, One Flew..., Rocky, The Deer Hunter. Movies had a cut that included blood and the level of violence was exceptionally high for one single reason. Realism. This is the last decade before the technology era.
Watching this movie in 2019, there is definitely a wide sense of appreciation, for a moviegoer like me.

CAMERA
Todd Phillips wanted to shoot Joker on celluloid, like his previous films. I not only fully respect that, but I highly value films shot on actual film. I strongly believe in technology but I have never been more immersed in a movie than when it is shot on actual film. Digital is just not having the magic of film.
So, Phillips wanted to shoot Joker on film, in a wide format, but the rare 65 mm cameras were already rented by the productions of the next James Bond as well as Christopher Nolan for his next film Tenet. Three months before production, Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher went to shoot test footage in New York and used their 35 mm cameras as well as the new ARRI Alexa 65, a new digital camera with wide frame, used more recently on films like Alfonso Cuarón's Roma. Sher explains: "We drove around to three or four different places around the city and captured imagery with no lighting in both those formats. And when we looked at them side by side, we really loved the large-format aspect of the 65."

LAUGHTER
One of the first scenes with Arthur (Joker) is him having an uncontrollable laughter. We learn soon after that this is a pathology and suddenly I discover that this is a real pathology, called PLC (Pathological laughter and crying) or PBA (Pseudobulbar affect). Whatever the acronym, the result on screen is so evident that I wonder why I never heard about it before. Joker is one of the most well-known pop characters and it's only today that I realized that there was a very realistic way to tell the story on screen.
The laughter idea is simply perfect. Arthur forces himself to laugh and is never able to do it at the right time. That was such a beautiful idea. And I cannot even imagine how difficult it must have been for the actor to pull it off. Many will not realize how complex simplicity is

THE CHAOS EMANCIPATION
Another thing I really liked was the way Arthur becomes Joker. By living in a world of fear and violence, the only one way for him to look himself in the mirror and emancipate is through chaos. Chaos becomes the new structure and it is very clear when he uses his gun for the first time (purposely). And this is where I deviate with many critics who failed to understand that this movie is actually very positive, in a sense that it doesn't magnify killers, on the contrary, it shows that violence calls for more violence. It depicts that, the same way good deeds spread happiness, violence and hate ask for more. Such as in the scene when one of his ex-co-worker keeps mocking a small person. His verbal abuse will ultimately lead him to his death.

THE CLOWN MOVEMENT
Even more realistic than The Killing Joke comic book, which is the ultimate reference for the Joker initial story, Joker goes on to tell a story that also resonated with today's society, where movements are spreading like cancer and may start like a flower and end up like a disease. I really liked that Arthur had no desire to start any movement whatsoever, but the violent society jumps on any opportunity to spread even more violence.

THE PERFORMANCE
Behind every classic, there's always a great performance. This film is no exception. Joaquin Phoenix is truly magnificent in this role and I highly appreciated that he confronted Robert De Niro, (I heard they confronted on set, but I'm talking on film), which is the ultimate passing of the bâton – pardon my French. Arthur Fleck is not so far away from Travis Bickle. You could even imagine Arthur taking a cab to go to Murray's show and seeing Travis in the rear-view mirror. "People expect you to behave as if you don't."

ESSENCE
While I truly loved the film, if I had to say something negative, it is that the film is so overly visual that the visual feast is actually letting less time for actual dialogue And I think that it's a trick, like using the joker from a card deck.

VERDICT
I give it 9 out of 10. Outstanding.


Keep smiling
By Carry9 on November 24, 2019
 7

At first I was a little bit frightened to go watch this movie, as I heard a lot of things about the violence in it.
At the end the violence was more mental than physical.


msbreviews

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Obviously, Joker is one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. I mean, how couldn't it be?! Besides belonging to the superhero genre, DC has been on a streak of great films within its universe, so an isolated installment definitely excites me, especially about one of the evilest villains ever. It's by far one of the less comic-book-y flicks of the century. It doesn't follow the generic origin story formula, it avoids any cliches associated with the genre, and it's the type of movie that's becoming more and more rare nowadays. It's a character study like we haven't seen in a long time.

I'll simply begin with the person that elevates the entire thing: Joaquin Phoenix. Now, if there's something I'm not going to do is compare his performance with Heath Ledger's. That's the number one mistake people are going to keep making forever. First of all, The Dark Knight and Joker couldn't be more distinct films, even if they belong to the same genre (despite Joker being unique, it's still about a famous comic-book villain). Then, despite Phoenix and Ledger portraying the same "version" of the clown (crazy, sadistic psychopath), the former is 90% Arthur Fleck while the latter is 100% Joker, throughout each of their movies. Finally, Phoenix is the sole protagonist of this feature, while Ledger had the best live-action Batman sharing the spotlight.

In conclusion, it's both unfair, and a bit unreasonable to compare both interpretations since their roles have a different impact on the narrative, as well as each film being entirely different. In the end, both are impressive. However, let's switch to Phoenix since he's the star of this show … He has 2019's best performance, by far! With a strong marketing campaign, I'm sure he'll get that Oscar. I hope so! It's so well-deserved. Todd Phillips and Scott Silver developed a brilliant screenplay, but Phoenix elevates it to a whole other level.

Throughout the entire runtime, I felt weird. Perturbed. Even uncomfortable with what I was watching and consequently feeling. It's a dark, brutal, violent, emotionally powerful origin of a villain who I feel disturbingly empathetic towards. Phoenix makes the story work due to its remarkably captivating display of someone who's mentally ill. Arthur Fleck slowly becoming crazier is due to how society behaves and not due to some chemical pool that transforms his skin white and hair green (nothing wrong with this, but I know which origin story I prefer). "The world is getting crazier out there", and it becomes excruciatingly painful to deal with it, especially when so much is going on with Arthur’s personal life, and most of it he doesn't even realize because he tries to hide everything behind a smile.

It's a screenplay filled with narrative twists that not only pack a punch of surprise but leave you feeling extremely upset. The last act is one of the best in the last few years. If the second act is an enormous build-up, the last one is a terrific payoff. I can't remember the last movie I saw where I loved 100% every single narrative decision. I wouldn't do any of the big moments differently. There are so many excellent references hidden in plain sight that comic-book fans (and fans of the TDK trilogy as well) will love just like I did. In the ending, there's one pivotal moment in particular that serves as the absolute climax … I got chills all over my body. They couldn't have done that scene more perfect. I only have one tiny nitpick with the way some scenes feel repetitive since they neither move the plot forward or give us anything new. Some of these still help to create tension, some feel like they're just… there.

A Best Picture and Best Actor nominations seem to be on its way, but these are not the only achievements that deserve to be recognized. The original score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is incredibly addictive, so much that I'm listening to it while writing this review. It definitely helps to generate tremendous build-up, and it elevates the sinister environment of Gotham City. Lawrence Sher's cinematography is utterly stunning. The underexposure of some scenes is glorious. Sher paints the screen with so many gorgeous shots, especially with his close-ups on Phoenix, where the latter is able to shine. Jeff Groth is also impeccable in the editing room. There are several long takes with Phoenix just giving his all and letting all his emotions out (or keeping them all contained), which is always something I deeply appreciate since it helps with the flow of the narrative.

Regarding the film's controversy surrounding its messages and the incentive to violence, I really don't know what to say. It's ridiculous. I remember those times when going into the movie theater was a surreal experience. It was the number one place for people to forget about their lives, jobs, everything. Joker is a fictional story! It's the origin of one of the worst psychopaths in the history of comic-books and cinema. If people expected to leave the theater "happy" or "joyful", then at least one of the film's message is right: society really is getting crazier. Have people forgotten who Joker is? What could you possibly expect from his origin story?!

Nowadays, no one knows how to behave (social media is the primary source for spreading hate). No one respects the fellow citizen or even the world itself. More and more people only look at their own bellies. Political agendas are everywhere. New extreme movements are created every other year. Social hypersensibility is exponentially growing. The same way some people will hate this movie for not being able (or simply not wanting) to accept that they feel empathy towards a murderer, people all around the world behave like their actions don't reflect on another person's life and on their own planet. If people get ruthlessly violent because they watched Joker, how can someone complain that the film's message is bad when it's eventually true?

All in all, Joker is one of the best movies of the year, and it's definitely on my Top3 at the date of this review. Joaquin Phoenix delivers my favorite male performance of 2019, by elevating a script about the origin of one of the evilest villains ever. The way he gradually becomes more insane is worthy of study, but it's how he's able to make the audience create empathy towards a psychopath that leaves me disturbingly captivated. Todd Phillips produces a character-study filled with an astonishingly tense build-up and one of the most chill-inducing payoffs of the last few years. With every single narrative decision nailed perfectly, Hildur Guðnadóttir's score and Lawrence Sher's cinematography stand out. The lack of restraint in showing the unmerciful violence (physical and mental) that society inflicts on one another is what makes us feel unsettled. Because we know it's mostly true, and we refuse to accept it. It's not a film about the Joker. It's a very realistic portrayal of someone (anyone!) who can become someone like him. And it's disturbingly brilliant!

PS: Robert DeNiro (Murray Franklin) and Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond) are also great. Phoenix's performance is so mesmerizing that I almost forgot there were other actors in the movie.

Rating: A


solstafir7

Joker. The character that has existed since 1940, has become so heavy with so many different portrayals, different origins, that it feels impossible for any mortal man alive to impersonate the scattered personalities. It is an insurmountable task for any director to digest it all and still produce one more.

Todd Phillips had a crazy challenge. He brought in one of the best actors alive to lift it with him, Joaquin Phoenix. Together, they have built a mass-market masterpiece which is just above the crop. It is appropriately crazy and completely focussed on the central character. The narrator goes close to the shores of that craziness, wets his feet but remains dry to tell this story. It is like those news reporters which go closer to the burning amazon, but it is impossible to step in the fumes. In no way, Joker is telling his story. Instead, his story is told to us and there are pillars of sanity (like the detectives, asylum clerk etc.) which remain steadfast to give a strong anchor to the audience. This dilutes the effect of the film.

With the copious amount of material on Joker already, I wished to consider this film as a standalone character study vaguely inspired by the batman universe. But this is not entirely possible. I was forced to think about it on two levels. With Batman and Without Batman.

With Batman, The Joker is on the home turf. There have been many renditions of Joker, and Heath Ledger's portrayal is still vivid in my mind. I knew that Arthur here will go on to become someone who is going to say, “‎Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos...”. When I was thinking Joker in the context of Batman, I could not keep Ledger's joker too far away. I was searching for a path for Arthur to go from the mentally unstable to the calculating anarchist. I was left searching for that path when the movie ended. To remain as the crown prince of crime, and to justify the title of the greatest adversary of Batman, just mental instability isn't good enough. He needs to be much more intelligent, much more cunning. These traits are often visible early, In the case of Arthur, I could not find that complete foundation upon which the later psyche can stand. This reminded me of Cameron Monaghan's Jerome Valeska. The joker of my understanding is somewhere between the cruelty of Jerome and pitiable delusions of Arthur. Also, the iconic Batman moment was not needed in this. I kept feeling that Joker is trying to stand with the support of Batman's tale as a clutch. A safety net enforced by the producers.

On the other hand, if I consider this movie as a standalone tale, then it was a bit more satisfying. There are tearjerker movies where nothing good ever happens with the protagonist. A series of bad lucks, or difficulties keep blocking a normal life. He is most definitely poor, has a sub-optimal family background, has a medical affliction which is unique and provides a foundation of the pity I felt. This is not very far from Rani Mukharjee's Hichki if you only consider the medical condition. Rani's Naina had Tourette syndrome while Joaquin's Arthur suffers from pseudobulbar affect. The setting and genre make the two films vastly different. More often than not, I have noticed these disorders lift a lot of burden from the narrative. In the case of Joker, couple his disorder with usually being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you have a travesty of human life. Add to that, an unstable parent, amplify it with the volatile societal conditions, you have a perfect decoction of what Joker is made of. As a tale of its own, it works. The delivery is great thanks to the spectacular performance. It also helps to increase the awareness of mental health. But when you strip off all the Batman context, it remains a well-acted and averagely written tale.

Unfortunately, this is a single film, and I felt it is torn between these two polarising treatments. It wants to find its ground, which it finds. But that ground is far from being sensational. It remains somewhat indecisive. It can not be well soaked in Batman lore like James Gordon's tale, Gotham is. I am considering Gotham because both Gotham and Joker do not feature Batman, but they both have Bruce. Gotham understands its lore and fully embraces it but Joker does not want to. At the same time, as a tale of the psychologically troubled protagonist, Joker tries to play safe with the aim to please audience en-mass. I kept thinking about American Psycho and The Machinist. (Coincidently, both star ex-Batman Christian Bale). Those two take you in the psyche of the protagonist. Those take you inside the burning Amazon and not stand at a safe distance. Joker does not aim to do so.

I am not at all qualified to talk about the acting performances. Joaquin Phoenix is in every frame and the way he waltzes between emotions is terrifyingly amazing. The Tai Chi to calm himself down, the menacing stare when finally becomes the Joker, those are chilling. He lives the character to the best of his abilities. Regrettably, he does not have the same level of writing support which Heath Ledger had and so due to no fault of his own, Joaquin could not topple Heath Ledger's portrayal of the crown prince of crime.

If I consider Todd Philips's entire resume, this was a genre shift for him. He knew very well that the biggest trump card is Joaquin Phoenix, so he takes no risk. He keeps him in focus, almost always all the setting and cinematography works for him. The only exception being Robert De Niro. Robert is allowed to carry his scenes quite independently. I think Todd Philips relied on both these giants to carry their parts. Sadly, I had gone to a theatre which had a bad print or screen so I think I will have to watch it again sometimes to enjoy the cinematography.

I realised, I kept writing a lot and this is already over a thousand words. If you are here and reading still, I must say thank you. To summarise, The Joker worked for me and I enjoyed it, but I would not consider it the best depication of the iconic villain from comic books. The best may yet come.


ikomrad

The Joker is similar to the DC Joker character but is not a criminal genius. The movie was a great depiction of how a person who has been mistreated, lied to, and ignored, totally lacking access to human compassion, can snap. The acting is top notch, and it puts a spotlight on the importance of mental health in modern times.


Sheldon Nylander

Okay, this film has already been so widely debated that I’m not sure what I can really add to the conversation. So, I’ll just give my thoughts.

“Joker” is a fairly basic character study of Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man who feels increasingly marginalized by an uncaring and brutal society in Gotham City. To start, the characters, except for Arthur himself, are pretty flat. They seem to have little purpose other than to further Arthur’s story. This includes Thomas Wayne, who in other media is portrayed as a man of many dimensions, wealthy but caring, and instilling these values in his son Bruce. Here, he is portrayed as much more uncaring and elitist. Which gives much less of an impact in the inevitable alley scene we see in everything remotely related to Batman. More on this in a minute. It’s important to the point.

Arthur suffers a condition that makes him burst into laughter at inappropriate times. He also has other unspecified mental illnesses. We’re never given the specifics. This is actually a little troubling because of the general depiction of mental illness. It almost seems like they are saying that if someone is mentally ill then they are a ticking time bomb and it’s only a matter of time before they go off. This is not a good look.

After a series of events, Arthur begins spiraling downward, but at the same time realizes how much influence he can have over other people, an aspect of the Joker that isn’t often explored. And this is where the characters other than Arthur being rather flat comes into play.

There’s more than one indication that we are actually witnessing these events through Arthur’s eyes. And this creates a brilliant depiction of a narcissistic personality. The only character that gets fully fleshed out is Arthur himself, but he can’t or won’t connect with other people to see their depth. As such, we get to see narcissism from the inside, no connection to others and in fact seeing them as pawns in his own schemes. It’s subtle and definitely not in your face, but if you look carefully, the hints are there.

Those who fear that "Joker" would glorify incel violence or otherwise can rest a little easier, but as I mentioned, the film isn't without its troubling portrayals. It does vilify the mentally ill, which creates a whole host of other issues. The movie swings wildly between "excellent" and just "okay," and sometimes even "meh." As such, it gets a recommendation, but only a mild one.


Leno

*A Masterpiece*.

The movie shows the escalating events that made Arthur become the Joker. Initially an inoffensive poor and sick man, Arthur suffered a tide of unfortunate events that pushed him closer and closer to the edge.

Ignored and despised by everyone, sick and alone in the world, and neglected by the State, Arthur becomes progressively more violent until he breaks.

Much more than one more Super-hero movie, *Joker* uses well-known characters to promote the reflection on the "ignored" ones. At least, ignored until they become a Joker.


Wuchak

***Not fun, but absorbing, artistic and tragic***

A mentally troubled middle-aged clown (Joaquin Phoenix) who lives with his mother (Frances Conroy) in Gotham City goes from not good to worse when he finally realizes his true identity. Robert DeNiro plays a talk show host and Zazie Beetz the friendly girl down the hall. Brett Cullen is on hand as Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s rich father.

"Joker" (2019) is an arty, slow-burn character study of the popular DC Comics’ villain, but it’s more of a psychological crime drama/thriller and tragedy than a superhero flick (or, in this case, supervillain). The movie’s captivating from the get-go and practically everything works for a broodingly superb cinematic experience.

There are several amusing bits, but this ain’t a fun flick. It’s heavy and tragic. But what’s the message? Simply that this is how a quirky man who wanted to make people laugh became The Joker. He’s a little reminiscent of the clown in Steve Gerber’s “Night of the Laughing Dead” in Man-Thing #5 (1974).

The movie runs 2 hours, 2 minutes, and was shot in New York City (Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan) and nearby New Jersey (Jersey City & Newark).

GRADE: A-/A


JPV852

_Joker_ is a tour-de-force of a movie, not quite like anything I've seen, maybe since Taxi Driver. At its core it's a movie about the breaking point of a broken man, wrapped under the banner of a comic book movie that, take out the Waynes, works on its own.
Joaquin Phoenix truly gives a transformative performance (not unlike Heath Ledger) and will say is deserving of an Academy Award. The supporting cast all did well, though, and it is a small role, Zazie Beetz was great and De Niro had his moments, particularly at the end.

Got to hand it to Todd Phillips, between this and the good, albeit flawed, War Dogs, has proven to be more than those Hangover movies.

No, this isn't a feel-good movie and while it does sit at the top of my 2019 list, not entirely sure when I'd revisit. **4.75/5**



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 News

Smile, our exclusive review of JOKER
 November 17, 2019

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Joker Becomes First R-Rated Film to Hit $1 Billion
 November 16, 2019

 0    1    188
Put On a Happy Face, the First Trailer of JOKER Is Here
 April 3, 2019

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 Comments

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Did you see Joker already?
By Jack Anderson on 2019-10-27 17:11:52 ET
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