After watching The Joker last night, I went to bed with a smile of my own. No, I am not a sadistic person with a panache for evil. Rather it was because of watching a well-orchestrated movie.
At this point, there is no doubt that the movie is a fantastic piece of filmography. Everyone has already read about the 8-minute standing ovation and have already heard its contention for an Oscar or two, yet sadly we also know the negativity surrounding the movie.
So let’s get the bad bits out of the way. Firstly the call to have it pulled from theatres is totally unjust. I am not saying this as a fan but there are plenty more horrific and gruesome films out there that far outweigh this movie. Sure, the rebuttal could be made that most are pure fictional horror or gore movies, but then again, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan made me squirm a little in my seat. Then there is the reality of 13 Reasons Why and the so-called glorification of suicide.
Honestly, I think people are irked by the true nature of the psychosis in this film and that is the violence. Honestly, a Tarantino movie has a higher kill count by a yard and a half. Truthfully, this movie exposes the true nature of humanity and their lack of consideration for others which does not fit into the norm of society, our inability to assist them and how we create the monsters that we fear.
Jokes on You
We meet Arthur Fleck straight into the movie, as he juggles his daytime gig as a clown with his aspiration to be a standup comedian. He seems to be a decent guy who has some issues and just needs one thing to work in his favor to turn his life around. Gotham however, is falling apart and his social worker advises him that all his funding will be cut. This means no more meds for his mental conditions.
Joaquin Phoenix dropped mega pounds for this role and his portrayal will haunt us for days to come. His manifestation from a heartfelt tragic hero to the sociopath he eventually becomes is a journey worth watching. While we have always loved the Joker we never could relate to him. Phoenix changes this at a very real level. Maybe even too real.
The movie perfectly balances reality with the fictional world of comics and the attention to detail is par to none. The score? Well, the score hit every note straight into your very soul. Whether it’s the upbeats in the somber moments or the piercing scenes of insanity.
Heath v Phoenix
Heath Ledger stole our hearts with his portrayal of the Joker. He set a bar we thought could never be achieved ever again and it some ways never will be but, his Joker was fully formed. Joaquin instead gives us proto-joker, the birth of the icon, his transcendence into madness! Each very different from the other but at the core, the very core, they both found something similar, Joker’s essence! And again they executed it very differently.
The result is two very different, very unique and many loved takes. Personally I can’t choose and so they shall both share the top spot.
It’s a masterpiece! And there is no better way to describe it. Beautifully shot, seamlessly scored, and perfectly cast! A movie that makes you question the world you live in, hows you how the powerful control and destroy the weak.
In DC’s mangle movie universe, it is ironic that its true savior is not one of their legendary saviors. No, rather he comes in the form of their greatest villain.
The movie does, however, need a trigger warning. It is not for the faint of heart and isn’t a typical superhero film. This is a very serious analogy of the mental conditions created by modern society and its inherent lack of consideration.
I don’t know if I could go back to watching regular superhero films after this….