Joker Image


By Chris Gore | October 6, 2019

It must also be mentioned that the score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is essential in bringing forth the myriad of disturbing emotions reflected by Arthur Fleck/Joker. The violin that accompanies the Joker’s bathroom dance scene is poignant, menacing and haunting. I do hope the musical score will be recognized along with Phoenix’s performance come awards season.

Phoenix used every arsenal an actor can to reveal Arthur Fleck’s transformation into Joker…”

Now, full disclosure, I actually knew Todd Phillips back in the 90s when he was doing the New York Underground Film Festival. And Film Threat actually released two volumes of shorts from NYUFF as well as Phillips’ first feature, a documentary called Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies. While Phillips is mostly known for his comedies like Old School, Road Trip, The Hangover trilogy and Due Date (which had varying levels of success), I believe that his filmmaking heart is still rooted in the grittiness of his earlier work, which clearly has reached the pinnacle in Joker. Frankly, I hope the success of Joker allows Phillips to further venture into risky films like the ones he made at the beginning of his career rather than, say, The Hangover 4.

Joker is truly a masterpiece. And it shows what is possible if one approaches a comic book movie on a low budget, free from the pressures that come with a bloated big budget requiring huge box office returns and everyone to love it. You don’t have to love Joker. You can hate it. It’s fine. You don’t even have to go see it. But I’m not the only one calling Joker a masterpiece. This sentiment has been echoed in reviews posted by both fans and critics. The true test of a masterpiece is time. So in a decade when we discuss the greatest comic book movies ever made, will we be talking about Joker or Avengers: Endgame? Time will tell.

Listen to our non-spoiler and spoiler episode of the Film Threat Podcast for an in-depth conversation about Joker

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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