Review: Joker (15)

Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?

What role does society play in creating monsters like Joker? What role do we ourselves play in the treatment of mentally ill characters like Arthur Fleck? This is primarily what Joker is about. Joker is a standalone CBM-Scorsese hybrid that really digs deep into the origins and story of Batman’s nemesis.

Joker is a unnerving, uncomfortable, hauntingly jaw-dropping psychological thriller encapsulated in Joaquin Phoenix’s surreal performance. From the laughter that echoes in your mind long after the credits have rolled to the commitment Phoenix puts into the role with the loss of 50 lbs, he brings a performance we will never forget, iconic already. And while Heath Ledger will always have a special place in my heart, Phoenix most definitely deserves an Oscar for this role.

However, this is a film that has been highly debated. Firstly with the whole backlash over the extreme violence with which I stand firmly with the film. Although there was gruesome violent scenes in the film, it was done with purpose driving the character profile and in a way that will hopefully promote positive conversation regarding crime and violence.

This film is a bit like marmite. You either hated it or loved it. I’m the latter. I think the main issue with this film is that a lot of people will have gone into it with the expectations of a typical superhero movie. Joker is far from this. It has no action, it has no adventure, it’s a 2 hour long character study. It also holds no place in the DC universe, evident in the removal of the DC logo at the beginning. 

Another criticism the film has received is its very slow pace. However, I found that due to the cinematography and brilliancy of every single shot, you find yourself not really caring much. The film exploration of issues that we ourselves as a society are currently dealing with – outsiders, the ignored, the rich vs. the poor also draws you away from the slow pace.

The only problem I had with the movie was that it almost made you sympathise with Arthur, especially at the beginning. If I was going into this not knowing who the Joker is, what he has done, this probably wouldn’t be a problem. However it was disturbing to feel sorry for Fleck as he struggles with society.

Ultimately, Joker is a beautifully shot film that gets under your skin, making you shiver with thrills as it exposes and condemns Gotham City and the world we live in.