Dir. Todd Philips
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
'I hope my death makes more cents than my life...’
“Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks ArthurFleck (Joaquin Phoenix), of his counsellor, after being attacked and beaten in the street by a gang of youths. What follows is a heartbreaking odyssey into madness and violence that traces the birth of Gotham’s clown prince of chaos – Joker.
'and where is the Batman?'
Yes, Batman’s iconic arch-nemesis gets his big-screen origin story and it’s a cinematic gut-punch of a man on the very edge – pushed over the line by a callus and mean society. Director Todd “The Hangover’ Phillips delves into the pain of a life shaped by abuse, of a man who society either ignores or targets and has created a superbly gritty character piece which stands as a warning to us all. Joaquin Phoenix is incredible in the lead – owning the huge clown sized shows of Heath Ledger and giving him a serious run for the title of best Joker ever’.
After his show-stopping performance in the brutal ‘You Were NeverReally Here’, he is an actor who can make horrific violence feel necessary and give viewers an insight into the actions of a crazed individual in a way that no other has to date. The writing here is as brilliant as it is bleak, this isn't feel-good film on any level and it is liable to traumatise any Bat-fans looking for a standard superhero (or even villain) romp.
Certainly, comic book villains don't come much more iconic than the Joker, he is a character that somehow transcends understanding with his charismatic insanity and casual ultra-violence. So it's a tough brief to make him the central character of the film as he is normally held up as existing solely as the flip side of Batman’s vigilante justice – but Phoenix pulls it off in fine style.
Joker the movie, however, works as a twisted masterpiece that may well tear your soul apart. Any film that can induce menace by playing Stephen Sondheim ‘Send in the Clowns’ and reference such light-hearted movies like Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ whilst being a chilling crime drama on a par with Taxi Driver deserves serious consideration as something much more than the standard super-flicks that have become such big business.
'go with a smile'
What we have here is the full-throttle descent of a misunderstood man who has no positive reference points. Joker is a timely instant classic, put on a happy face and see it!!
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Tragic insanity has never been more compelling)
Awesomeness ööööö – Staggering insights into a violent descent
Laughs ööö – Some very dark laughs
Horror öööö – Strong bloody violence and unsettling madness
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Look beyond the outside smile
Want some more madness?
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...