Dark, gritty, heart-wrenching and disturbingly joyous; this truly is a film for our times. Seeking to bring a new light upon the infamous character, Joker is more a story of a twisted society and the seemingly rapid decline of human decency, that leaves you desperately relating to a complete psychopath.
Not many of us would call ourselves psychopaths, and yet you leave the cinema questioning your ability to carry out spontaneous killings.
The reason for this is the performance of Joaquin Phoenix, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he has long term back issues from carrying this entire movie.
His new humanisation of the character allows the viewer inside the mind of the Joker, and highlights just how someone can lose their mind in society.
His character starts off as Arthur Fleck, the man behind the Joker, who is a ‘freak’ of society. Alienated, isolated and lonely; Fleck is struggling to see where he fits into the crazy world he sees outside his window.
Set in Gotham in 1981, it is a city of twisted morals where money and greed are taking over. Rich businessmen and bankers flood to the city, whilst the poor and isolated are growing more and more disenfranchised.
Mentally unwell and attempting to salvage something in a career in stand-up, repeated knock downs, beatings, and past psychological trauma start to swell the feelings of desperation within the character, slowly but surely building the tension until you can physically feel the yearning and ache of Fleck.
You see his battle with normality become increasingly conflicted, as he questions why he should abide by the laws of the land where nothing within such land is doing anything for him. You catch yourself egging on the riot within him, waiting for him to morph into the famous character and do something radical.
However, this film intelligently avoids chichés, managing to transition the character in a believable way, which again serves to slightly disturb you as you see how easy the decline into insanity could be.
Looking deeper into the character clearly opened up the film to carry a deeper message, behind all the make up and green hair.
In times where mental health, depression and mass shootings are at the forefront of conversation, this film certainly doesn’t hide away from addressing the subject that is of paramount significance in today’s society, and it also unapologetically points the finger away from the Joker and towards the men in the ivory towers.
The Joker represents all the lonely misfits of society, ignored and left helplessly fending for themselves, and his actions and words almost break through the screen as if he’s yelling it at you in the final scene. Despite him screaming about the city of Gotham and it’s twisted morals, you know full well he is screaming about today’s society in a moment in the film that you cannot help but be affected by.
A sentiment shared by many in our times, it is a really special piece of cinema.
The film culminates with Phoenix bringing back the giddy madness that the Joker is so infamous for, exploding into character in fantastic style in a release of tension that was building for the entire film.
Todd Phillips’ work on this film must be applauded, because he has not just reimagined the character, but he has rewritten the narrative around the entire franchise, where you catch yourself completely uninterested in the boring story of Batman the amazing hero, wanting more and more from the Joker.
“Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself.”
A fantastic reimagination of a classic character, the film hits so many nails on the head, and leaves you feeling that two hours was just not long enough. HEKKTA certainly recommends.