Thursday, October 3, 2019

Joker Movie Review

Joaquin Phoenix stars in Joker

Don't Forget to Smile

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: "Joker" centers around the iconic arch nemesis, and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night... but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study. Directed by Todd Phillips.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy

What's Good: "Forgive my laughter. I have a condition." Phoenix turns seven simple words into a surefire Oscar nomination, dissecting the nooks and crannies of Gotham City with a performance that rivals (if not eclipses) Heath Ledger's iconic turn in 2008's The Dark Knight. Be warned, it's dark. Really, really dark, but it still managed to make me laugh a few times, in between Phillips' superb direction and a score so haunting, you'd swear Satan wrote it himself (kudos to Hildur Guðnadóttir.) Similar to The King of Comedy, Taxi Driver and 2017's (underrated) You Were Never Really Here, only grittier, and more mesmerizing.

What's Not: Did I mention it's dark? Seriously, this movie ought to come with a warning label: Danger, depression (and violence) ahead. That said, I loved it... save for De Niro, who (sadly) got real old, real fast. No offense, but I don't want to live in a world where the once great Bobby D is a late night talk-show host.

Budget: $55-64 million

Runtime: 122 minutes

Target Audience: Comic book fans, cynics and anyone who wants to be wildly entertained (under trying circumstances.)

Bottom Line: Joker isn't for everyone; but if you can avoid putting on a happy face for two hours, you might bear witness to one of the best movies of 2019. Phoenix is terrific, and Phillips deserves a lot of credit for one of the sharpest turns in recent memory (although War Dogs showed glimpses of just how dark Phillips could get, when he put his mind to it.) The second hour is near perfection.