Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hour 4 minutes
Censor Rating : A
Joker English (aka) Joker review
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Production: DC Comics, Village Roadshow Pictures
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix
Direction: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Scott Silver, Todd Phillips

The protagonist of Todd Philips' Joker, Arthur Fleck, has a trajectory of self-destruction similar to that of Rupert Pupkin's, the delusional wannabe from Martin Scorcese's King of Comedy. But unlike the latter, whose pursuit lean towards the glitz of show business, Arthur's cause of his eventual self-destruction is the accumulation of abuse that simmers within himself, and his art just adds more salt to his injuries.

Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix), a professional clown who undergoes medication for his psychological issues (he suffers from uncontrollable cackles of laughter). As Arthur comes to terms with reality, the city of Gotham undergoes another brutal reality check of capitalist hate as Thomas Wayne, Gotham's most beloved faces, becomes a foe of the poor.

Gotham is stripped of its pomp and vanity. The amount of garbages produced within the city increases, leading to the menace of super-rats (which ends up being underutilized). Amidst Arthur's dwindling career and his mental struggle, the only respite for him and his mother Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy puts up a stellar act) is a late-night TV show hosted by Murray Franklin (played by Robert de Niro).

The ambiguity in Joker's life is still kept intact, as the new narrative does not present a cut and dried backstory through the ambiguity of Arthur's past. Todd Philips even takes certain visual cues of Scorsese oeuvre (visually, Gotham resembles the New York shown in Taxi Driver, with bustling crowds and smoke bursting from the bellies of sewage pipelines)

Joker's richly pays homage to 'The Dark Knight', where Arthur literally tries to make a smile on Bruce's face by stretching his lips. The film provides a terrific conceit as Arthur/Joker's journey to insanity is a mirror image of Gotham's. Despite reinforcing cliches (Arthur gets constantly attacked, and certain aspects of the character feel a bit derivative), Joker ends up being completely convincing and presents an even grittier picture of Gotham's underbelly.

Only an actor of Joaquin Phoenix's caliber could pull off such a tightrope of a character. He portrays a personality that we might end up rooting for, despite his inner demons getting the better of him. The writing gives some nuanced psychological pushes that makes Arthur's devolution into a completely convincing metamorphosis (for instance, Penny slyly mocks him when Arthur tells about his dream of becoming a stand-up comic). Joker is a nightmarish, gritty origin story of a menacing supervillain.

Verdict: Joker is brutal, dark and a compelling origin story of a man's painful journey to self destruction.


3.25 3.25
( 3.25 / 5.0 )


Joker English (aka) Joker

Joker English (aka) Joker is a English movie. Joaquin Phoenix are part of the cast of Joker English (aka) Joker. The movie is directed by Todd Phillips. Production by DC Comics, Village Roadshow Pictures.