Joker – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Joker – The Clown Prince: A Character Study

The nature of film is always rooted in the idea to engage.  From the beginning storyboards to the final release, engaging your audience is what you hope to achieve.  No matter the genre, creating a spectacle within artistry can be a winning formula.  Joker provides a window into that feeling of engagement.  By adapting a familiar comic book property through a different lens, it creates a journey of unexpected results.  With a strong lead, Joker is truly an engagement of great cinema.

The film centralizes on Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) a man that has been left behind by society.  Fleck must face the challenges head on, leading to the creation of an icon for Gotham.  From the onset, you realize there is no real storytelling or an evolution of strong cinematic fortitude.  What you have is a character study built around the concept of the popular DC villain, Joker.  Todd Phillips (Director) takes a realistic approach in adapting the character to create an origin tale that is built through darkly and ominous tones.  We follow Fleck through various rough situations in his life.  From dealing with his sickly mother to the random encounters with Gotham’s citizens, the result is a person that slowly falls victim to his own mental conflicts.  Joaquin Phoenix propels this character to heights beyond comparison, becoming the driving force of defining who is Arthur Fleck.  From his eerie mannerisms, dialogue delivery and random emotional breakdowns, you feel the flaws of him on a personal level.  The downward spiral parallels the social commentary that highlights the issues happening in Gotham.  These themes of injustice, rich vs. poor and prejudice are recycled from other films, but this doesn’t take away from the gritty journey that has befallen our main character. 

Arthur Fleck is driven towards madness through a mixture of gritty elements and expositional dialogue.  The characterized elements push you past the shortcomings of storytelling, where riveting sensations come from the unpredictable nature of Fleck and the dynamic of his influence on Gotham.  Seeing this imbues a fragile sense of morality.  This is only heightened by unexpected revelations and disturbing images of violence.  This leads into a third act that is an amalgamation of the endearment of Gotham’s mood, creating a climax that blends realism with actualization of Joker as a symbol for the city.  Joker plays with a lot of common tropes when it comes to gritty realism and psychological storytelling, but the blending of the DC character with strong acting creates a dynamic experience.  If you’re a fan of character studies, Comic Books or DC in general, this is a new engagement for you.  Even with the change, I say it is worth seeing at the theater, full price.       

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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