Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck embarks on a
downward-spiral of social revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him
face-to-face with his infamous alter-ego: “The Joker”.
WARNER BROTHERS STORY
centers around an origin of the iconic arch nemesis and is an original,
standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Todd Phillips’ exploration
of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a man disregarded by society, is
not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
MY 2 CENTS:
film is fantastic. It probably isn’t for everyone. I know it received a lot of
negative reviews and a bunch of criticism for the amount of violence. However,
it I feel that it also deserved some praise – both for the writing and the
acting. I think the risks taken by writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver were
great. Before seeing the film, I was a bit concerned. I had heard that there was
talk about extreme unnecessary violence. I had no idea what to expect. However,
after seeing the film, I can honestly say that wasn’t the case at all. After
watching the John Wick movies, which are just riddled with violence to the
point that it is hard to remember a scene without violence, this film is more
drama than violence. In fact, the first time Arthur Fleck ever kills anyone, it
is in self-defense. Sure, it is clear in that moment you can tell he is enjoying
it… and that is where you start to see the typical evil of The Joker come
WOW! The origin story for The Joker has always been
a bit confusing for me. I never really understood it and it has always seemed a
bit unrealistic and contrived. However, writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver really developed a believable,
heart wrenching backstory that allows the audience not only to understand why
and how Arthur Fleck becomes The Joker, but to also sympathize with his
situation and even root for him at times.
film really forces the audience to think about mental illness, how we as a society
often fail to give the appropriate care, attention, and medical treatment to
those that really need it. Arthur Fleck is functioning in society, it’s a struggle
but he is doing it. Then, when the funding for his state funded therapy is
cancelled and he can no longer talk to his therapist and get his medications he
The camera angles used during some of the scenes
were truly beautiful and helped to pull the right emotional strings of the
audience. One scene in particular was when Arthur was dancing down the steps
and the camera is lower down, staring up at him. The joy he is portraying is
both frightening and delightful at the same time.
Another case would be when Arthur has been beaten
down and the camera is low on the ground with him. As an audience member, being
down there on the ground with him, you feel his pain, his fear, his anger, and
just a complete rush of helplessness.
The way this movie was filmed really made me feel
like I was watching a Martin Scorsese film, such as Taxi Driver, The King of
Comedy, or even Raging Bull. After seeing the film, I read some reviews that said
this same thing. However, were other people complained about this, I really
liked it. I’ve always really liked Martin Scorsese’s film style.
Phoenix was brilliant in this film. I can’t think of another actor that could
have played this role in quiet the same way or with the same amount of
emotional connection. There are so many moments throughout the film where I was
just swept away emotionally, and brought to tears even, because of what Arthur
was going through. It isn’t because I agree with the violence and the killing,
but its in the moments, such as the first time he attempts standup comedy, or
when he is beaten down in the street (more than once) where as an audience
member feel his fear, his pain, and his torment.
an interview, Phoenix stated that perfecting the Joker’s laugh was the toughest
part of playing the character and I can completely see why. Laughter is usually
associated with joy and delight and comedy, however, when he laughs you see his
struggle with pain, depression, and anxiety. It is in complete conflict with
the act of laughing. He stated that he watched videos of people who suffered
from pathological laughter in order to get it just right.
Phoenix stated that he had been “interested in the light of Arthur for
lack of a better word. It wasn’t just the torment, it was the joy, his struggle
to find happiness and to feel connected. To have warmth and love. I don’t think
of a character as tormented.” Ultimately, I feel that Phoenix was able to bring
out all of Arthur’s deepest emotions and make him a character that audience
members can both related to and sympathize with.
Robert De Niro‘s
role as Murray Franklin, the talk-show host who gives Arthur Fleck his big
break, and even the name The Joker, is an ironic role reversal from De Niro’s
role in The King of Comedy
(1982). In that film, De Niro played Rupert Pupkin, an unsuccessful,
mentally-unstable comedian who stalked and kidnapped his favorite talk-show
host, Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis).
MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you
used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.”
TO SUM IT UP:
film is a dark, terrifying, gritty, raw, and often uncomfortable character study
of a man who has been mistreated, abused (both emotionally and physically), and
overlooked by everyone in his life. This film dives into how the circumstances
of life and long-term abuse have affected Arthur Fleck physically, emotionally,
and mentally. I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen so you can get the
full effect of the amazing camera angles and larger than life closeups.
you seen JOKER? If not, you should. If you have, let me know your thoughts, in
the comments below. As always, I recommend seeing this film for yourself and
forming your own opinion.
Check out my YouTube channel and the video
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