So what exactly pushes someone to the brink of insanity that they act on these negative thoughts? This is the dangerous territory that Joker explores and perhaps the main reason for the so-called controversy over this film. I am of the opinion that the “outrage” surrounding Joker is the result of a bunch of trolls seeking clicks and likes and it’s obviously coming from people who have not seen this film or ever read anything about the character in a Batman comic. Because the tone of this story should surprise no one who has been reading about the character in the comics since the 1980s when the Joker evolved into the menacing serial killer we know today. If only the cancel culture clowns took a look at the source material, they would discover that it is actually far worse than what is portrayed in Todd Phillips’ Joker film. (I highly recommend reading the graphic novels The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns as a place to start.)
“If only the cancel culture clowns took a look at the source material from the comics, they would discover that it is actually far worse than what is portrayed in the Joker film…”
Director Phillips has stated that Joker was inspired by films from the 70s, which many have stated was the last great era of American cinema. So it’s a miracle that Joker even exists in an age dominated by studio film franchises and factory filmmaking. Joker borrows quite a bit from Martin Scorsese’s classic anti-hero film Taxi Driver, from the gritty look right down to the shocking violence. It is refreshing to see a film set in a time with tube TVs before cell phones. Phillips went all out to recreate that run down, rat-infested, dirty, smelly, garbage-everywhere New York of the 1970s and this look is highly effective in creating just the right tone for the birth of a killer clown. It’s not a more innocent time, but a period before mobile devices made us all slaves to technology, but I digress. The true success of this film has everything to do with Joaquin Phoenix’s masterful performance.
“The true success of this film has everything to do with Joaquin Phoenix’s masterful performance.”
Phoenix used every arsenal an actor can to reveal Arthur Fleck’s transformation into Joker — the way he walks as Fleck is vastly different than the way he walks as Joker. Phoenix lost a lot of weight for the role and it shows in several scenes in which he is shirtless. And that laugh. That uncontrollable haunting laugh that pains even Arthur himself as he must explain that his inappropriate laughter is the result of a mental disorder. The supporting cast is also fantastic including Zazie Beetz as a single mom and object of Arthur’s affection, Frances Conroy as Penny Fleck who delivers a remarkable performance, and Leigh Gill, a friend of Fleck and a little person, steals one particularly grisly scene.