Today’s review is going to be a look into the eyes of madness, one film that has had so much negative publicity it turned into a cultural phenomenon, Todd Philps’ Joker, a film about a man named Arthur Fleck who has had a hard, horrible life, lives with his mother and one day, he finally decides he has had enough of being made into a fool and fights back against the world that tried to bury him.
A reminder for those reading this review, this will not be an All-Praise Fluff Piece. Let’s begin the review.
After the Suicide Squad premiered and fans were shown Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker, it left a very bad taste in their mouths, most were disappointed while others were calling for a DC Boycott after Suicide Squad and Justice League’s poor performance. Then here comes Todd Philips’ stand-alone Supervillain origin story, Todd Phillps who is known for his past works such as Road Trip, Starsky and Hutch, Borat, and of course, the Hangover Trilogy; in this film, we watch a disturbed man who works as a Clown for hire who dreams of having a big Stand-Up Comedy Career and be admired like his idol Murray Franklin, played by Robert De Niro. Described as a ‘Self-Pity Fantasy’ set in the 1980s, Arthur’s mother, Penny Fleck has tried to encourage him to always see the brighter things in the world and bring laughter to the world; the only problem with this is that Arthur is painfully awkward and a bit twitchy when it comes to social and this causes people to turn away from Arthur due to his behavior, it could either be dangerous or just make things really uncomfortable.
Joaquin Phoenix does a great job in his portrayal of Arthur Fleck, it is clear to see how much effort he put in on doing research for his part whether it involved the Supervillain or on Mental Illness; Fleck suffers from not only mental illness but also deals with pathological laughter. This also gives the viewer something to sympathize with, Fleck being the kind of person that society strays away from and turns a blind eye to. Essentially this film is consciously a very ugly film, emotionally and visually; another thing I want to give credit to is Cinematographer Lawrence Sher (Fans of the Hangover Trilogy would also recognize his work), Sher and Philips gives the film a sickeningly grungy, underlit atmosphere and this shows when it comes to Arthur’s homelife, another thing that it gives off is it also a nod to another well known Director’s work and that Director’s name is David Fincher.
While this film is certainly deserving of the praise that it recently received two Golden Globes, one for Original Score and the other for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for Joaquin Phoenix and now leading in Eleven Nominees in BAFTA (British Academy Film and Television Arts); it also is leading to fears of a potential copy cat violence.
Batman: The Animated Series Joker Bust, part of Entertainment Earth’s New Years sale, marked down for $30.
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