Picture courtesy of Warner Bros.
Written by Amber Leslie
As the disturbing yet unforgettable origin story of one of cinema’s most well known supervillains, Joker scored a record-breaking October opening weekend with $247 million worldwide in box office sales.
Directed and produced by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, A Star is Born), this incredibly dark and gritty film is unlike any comic book movie seen so far on the big screen. It is more of an intense character study than a traditional action packed superhero blockbuster.
Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix stars as the title character, and his phenomenal performance and character development drive the story more towards realistic issues than to a simple comic movie storyline.
Joker is a dark, psychological thriller/drama with amazing acting, a gripping and haunting score, and an intense and thought-provoking story.
Set in the 1980’s in the fictional Gotham City, struggling loner Arthur Fleck works as a clown-for-hire, while aspiring to be a stand up comedian. He suffers from many mental illnesses, including one which causes him to laugh uncontrollably at any time.
Arthur’s mental health issues cause him to be disregarded and mistreated by society, even though all he wants is to be accepted. After being brutally beaten, having his medications cut off, and discovering hard truths about his past, Arthur’s life begins to unravel into violence and anarchy until he ultimately takes on the persona of his alter ego, The Joker.
This film tackles many serious subject matters, including mental health and illnesses, realistic violence, and the struggles people may face in a fractured society. Joker is realistic in a dark and terrifying way, and even hard and uncomfortable to watch at times, yet the incredible production of this film keeps viewers invested into the story to the very end.
The cinematography and screenwriting for such an original film about such a well known, complex character were only amplified by the superb soundtrack and acting. The camera angles and visuals are breathtaking, and the score creates an atmosphere of suspense and dread that keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat.
Despite the mixed reviews this movie has received, Phoenix’s Oscar-worthy performance and Phillips’s mastery of cinematography have created a uniquely dark but unforgettable film, and one that will most likely be seen at the next Academy Awards.