Joker Image


By Chris Gore | October 6, 2019

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.

Joker (2019)

Directed: Todd Phillips

Written: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert DeNiro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Joker Image

"…the most radical film to come from a major studio since Fight Club."

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  1. William says:

    This is a bias article full of subjectivity. The film brought nothing new to the table. What they should have done was just adapt The Killing Joke and made that into a film. Joaquin Phoenix was not the right person for this role either because if I wanted to see him revealing sadness and despair I would have watch The Master or if I want to see some comedy I’ll would have watch Inherent Vice instead and that’s another film that disappointed me. I was expecting more out of it and the only good part of the film were visuals and the third act and that’s it.

  2. Neil McBain says:

    I suffer from psychotic depression myself and could identify myself with Joker .I found watching him in this movie deeply therapeutic.
    Mr Phoenix’s performance was brilliant and he deserves Oscar for this.

  3. Mark says:

    Truly a terrible movie. The Phoenix’s performance is an insult to all who wrestle with mental health issues.

    • Adam says:

      We’ll be hitting the bumps, you’ll be hitting the slumps. Bro, you and a very small percentage hate this movie and i find it amusing. Amusing how people choose to hate on a movie that tackles a very sensitive topic. Todd and everyone did beyond amazing for how serious the topic is. Some find it therapeutic because they know what it’s like to have a REAL mental illness, and for some bum to come along and trash on a movie, you must be one of those who cant handle the truth, cant handle the real world. How about another rant mark?

  4. Hillarykane says:

    Hard to believe that this is the same guy who was able to convince us for a couple of hours that he was the legendary Johnny Cash in the movie “I WALK THE LINE”……That seems so long ago that I had forgotten what a truly gifted actor this guy really is…as much as I loved Heath Ledger there is no doubt that this performance is the new gold standard.

  5. Linda says:

    Joaquin Phoenix was brilliant, nerve racking to watch and mesmerizing at the same time.

  6. anonymous says:

    A corporate-tentpole-franchise movie is still a corporate tentpole-franchise-movie, even when it’s pretending to be an art film, and a tour-de-force performance is really not a tour-de-force performance when it possesses all of the monotony of a single low note of “dysfunction” being struck over and over again relentlessly, a vase already cracked instead of cracking, without any real
    or organic sense of gradual human disintegration other than slickly executed dance moves, external tics, and Method-like histrionics rather than Method itself (did the audience see or feel any REAL tears flow, other than “symbolically” painted-on ones?) Here is an even more pertinent issue: In 2019 Hollywood, would a mainstream studio like Warners Brothers, instead of making and releasing an imitation TAXI DRIVER, re-release the real TAXI DRIVER from 1976? Would they re-release Terrence Malick’s BADLANDS from 1974? Or Peter Bogdanovich’s TARGETS from 1968? Richard Brook’s IN COLD BLOOD? I can assure you they would have no interest in that whatsoever. So you can make comic book homages to THE EXORCIST staircase, THE FRENCH CONNECTION subway chase, the APOCALYPSE NOW mirror dance, the end shot of Sidney Lumet’s NETWORK, but god forbid you actually expose a younger generation to discover and appreciate the actual films from that venerated 1970’s Golden Age of art and commerce working together in rare harmony.

    “They won’t get it”, indeed…..and the joke, in reality, is on all of us, culturally-speaking.

    • Chris Gore says:

      Hey anonymous. You make some valid arguments. Taxi Driver was actually rereleased in theaters in 2015 through Fathom Events and received a wide release. I watched Taxi Driver with my son (he’s over 18 and has great taste in movies) in a nearly empty theater unfortunately. I wish there was a wider market for classic films, but the truth is that mainstream audiences don’t care all that much for films more than 5 years old. And just try getting someone to watch a black and white movie. In any case, thanks for reading my review and your comment.

  7. Jason Romero says:

    You’re spot on Chris. I’m not a comic book movie junkie, admittedly I’ve seen probably 25% of the latest comic book movies and have been entertained no more though then an episode of Impractical Jokers, what we have here is Fight Clubesqe, yet where in Fight Club we learn later we’re dealing with mental illness… here we know from the first 3 minutes of the Joker it’s mental illness. Beautiful movie… beautifully shot… so many scenes where my eyes are just scanning the screen I can’t name them all. I loved it!!!

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