Joker (2019) Review

joker

RATING: 4.5/5

[SPOILERS]

A man’s life dives into a deep-end in a world of disgust. Thus causing him to become the infamous clown prince.

One of the most anticipated movies of the year has come out and I got to say, it didn’t disappoint in the least.

A lot of the performances in the film were all fine. But the one that definitely stole the show was Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. As the name of the film suggested, the movie was all about him.  All of the scenes that he was in were either captivating, unnerving, funny, uncomfortable, or plain creepy.

The evolution of the character of this Joker iteration was really good. There were a number of scenes that showed actions and events that seemed logically to the character’s point of view. It was one of those things where one knew this wasn’t a pleasant guy, but one could almost sympathize with him and get where he was coming from. A man who had lived with his “mother” for how many years, in a society that was riddled with trash, super rats, and crime. On top of that, there were corrupt rich people who only care about their wellbeing as opposed to the people below them.

The whole journey almost felt like a fever dream. In fact, if one were to really dive into it, one would make the assumption that the whole experience was thoughts running through the Joker’s mind while he was held in Arkham.

In terms of the setting, I got to say I really liked it. Gotham looked like a city that was on the brink of collapse due to corruption. From the beginning, the colors looked gloomy and the whole mood of the environment appeared depressing. Then toward the end, the city looked brighter and the colors appeared to pop more. Which I believe was good at showing how the Joker viewed the world from his perspective.

Many scenes left an image in my head for how entertaining they were or for some of the symbolism portrayed. For example, there were a couple scenes of the Joker walking up the stairs sadden by life. To me, this illustrated his struggles at trying to go up in life and be what society forced him to be. Toward the end of the second act, the Joker was going down the stairs dancing and with a smile on his face. This illustrated that the Joker doesn’t want to abide by Gotham’s rules and he was happy about going into the rabbit hole, never looking back.

There was a really good scene where the Joker was at a comedy club and he was laughing off-beat with the audience. It was moments like this that really highlighted the guy’s personality.

Another great scene was when Joker appeared on Murray Franklin’s talk show, played by Robert DeNiro who was great at portraying a talk show host. His discussion with the Joker was tense. Like the part about him saying that comedy can be totally subjective and one should laugh if they feel the need the laugh. This led to the shocking part where he straight up shot Murray in the head.

The narrative had many good twists/turns that made one guessing what was going to happen. It was those twists/turns that can make one still question, after viewing it, what really happened.

The cinematography was really good. There were quite a few zoom-ins and close-ups when the Joker was on-screen. But that was great for getting a good feel of the psychotic nature of the character. That close-up of the Joker smiling was truly creepy. Especially since the camera kept on his face for maybe a good minute. Not much time, but it felt like an eternity.

Now I can’t give it a full rating because there were some things that bugged me. One prominent one was toward the end where they showed the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents for the billionth time. It occurred during the climax, as the Joker was enjoying the moment and reveling the impact that he ensued onto Gotham. It kind of ruined the moment and should have been cut altogether.

While I really liked the character of Joker in this film, I feel as though the side characters were, well, put to the side. It seemed like a majority of the focus was put on him. If there was a little more aim on the other characters, it would have been good at really elevating the Joker’s rise to insanity.

The film was unnerving, creepy, and depressing, but in the right way. It was all thanks to a stellar performance from Phoenix and the whole mood he brought for the whole experience. His character development was great, the cinematography was nicely done, and some of the symbolism was very well done. This was a movie that will get a person to think and get discussions going with their friends. HIGHLY recommend it.

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