JOKER is Joaquin Phoenix All The Way : Film Review

October 11, 2019 , 0 Comments

Joker- The Clown Prince of Crime

As a child, I learned about Joker's cry and his smile. And I have reiterated it many times over the last 2 decades. I wonder if you noticed it or not, the joker never smiles. He has tears in eyes but the smile is painted on the face. Wonder if that is the analogy DC drew for its legendary villain and director Todd Philipps for his hero.

However, with DC Joker, the analogy has been left far behind, giving birth to the new Joker- The Clown Prince of the crime. 

Joker has always been one of my most favorite villains on the big screen ever. Since when? Ever since I saw Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

My love for comicverse is challenged by my mood. While I watched Avengers Endgame in great disbelief [it's a superhero, fantasy movie I kept telling myself], I watched Joaquin Phoenix' Joker with a great belief and relevance. 

And the fact that I watched this film on 10th October World Mental Health day, makes a lot of difference and how?

Is that all I think about the film? Well, no. Read more to know more...

What A Performance Joaquin Phoenix

From that starved and bruised body to the intense eyes that speaks to you even when [cliche] he is not speaking, Joker is the Joaquin Phoenix' movie all the way. His nuances, maneuvers and mere glitter in the eyes at certain scenes are strong enough to shoulder the entire movie.

The progression from a mentally devastated, good gestured loner to psychotic criminal Robin Hood is so Au natural, so progressing that you can see the change beginning from his eyes. Even when he kills a man brutally, he invites sympathy and empathy and not shock. His appearance at the chat show and the prelude to which including the imaginary segment wherein he appears as the studio audience, are all heartwarming. The entire piece was so well woven and enacted that it does not look like a scene from a cinema but you feel like real people talking and reacting. That sentence- you have never stepped outside your studio" was powerful enough, to sum up, everything that Arthur wanted to tell the famous chat show host, seamlessly played by ever-charming Robert De Niro.

Zazie Beets as his building neighbor had an impressionable presence too.

In spite of his heinous acts, you don't feel repulsed by Arthur. You feel sad. His delusions don't disgust you but make you feel sorry and empathize. And if there is an iota of feeling that tells you to stand by weaklings, then the movie deserves the Oscar and Joaquin Phoenix- already the best actor of the year.

You feel so bad for the misery that you want to offer help to anyone like him. But then you get worried about the cynical consequences. And then you wonder about the sorry state of medical help/counsel. But as the film narrated- the city was in dire shape and hence it burned to rise again. 

Another beautiful aspect of the film was his premises. The film is set around 70-80s [if am not mistaken] and it does represent that vintage era. From the city to dirty subways to Wayne House,  to the downtown apartment everything represents the Cinematic universe it is set in. 

Joker and World Mental Health day

Sheer coincidence or meticulous planning, that JOKER released around World Mental health day? Whichever, it may be a noteworthy gesture to further reinforce the world about mental health and counsel. I hope this film takes the cause a few notches ahead and inspires people to take stock of this wide-spreading issue. The film briefly talks about child abuse, social division and deep-seated depression/ mental trauma. I would not call mental illness a disease but a deficiency that needs to be tackled. If we grow as conscious towards it as we are towards pulse polio or vaccinations, the trauma could move towards the state of solution. maybe.

However, I do not see it coming when I realized how the entire crowd at the Ahmedabad multiplex was laughing off on the poor midget's misery in a scene. Wonder if that was an intended comic relief, shot within a sinister, in a no humorous film. Or is it just how we see things?

Numerounity Verdict

So we loved the performances, applauded the release around World Mental Health Day, and admired the artwork. How about the film? 

Without giving away a lot about the film, the film is the story of how Arthur Fleck, the small-time clown artist turns into one of the most compelling villains of the Batman universe- Joker. The movie retells the philosophy and metamorphosis of the Joker. How Arthur who lived with his delusional mother Penny Fleck copes with his real and delusional identity.

The story in the first half may appear like an old Bollywood film with greys of "Woh Chokri" starring Pallavi Joshi. Yeah, it gave that vibes. However, the film picks peak potency in the second half which is more compelling, pulsating and moving. 

The film did not make me feel disturbed cause it stated a lot obvious. However, it was heavily aligned towards the darker side. The film is so dark that when the normal and do good characters like hospital record room clerk [played by Brian Henry] comes, you start doubting their integrity and ups your sympathy for Arthur. [though the scene was another powerful scene for me in the whole movie] The film made me wonder if the violence or turning an outlaw is the only redemption? 

A theory that I do not, however, agree to. And it is fine as long as it was only about the story of the Joker's life. However, the first half of the film is quite slow and like I mentioned, cliche. The second part is when the action happens. If the first half is a typical 80s Bollywood fare, the second half is typical 90s Hollywood fare. With the truth about Arthur's existence beginning to unearth, you breathe a sigh that like a legendary Bollywood masala, is not the wronged son of Wayne. 

But do I think that the film is a masterpiece? a Film that will unearth a new psychic intensity? Well, not for me. I have been there and seen that. What was astounding and novel for me? Well, the brilliant performance by Joaquin Phoenix and his happy dance. Also, do not miss the opening scene wherein Arthur Fleck hooks his fingers inside the corners of his mouth and pull it in a simultaneous smile, grimace, and pathos, in front of the mirror. Powerful indeed! 

Go watch this movie if you have not seen already. Though ensure to eat before the film cause I lost my appetite while watching this film. All I needed was lots of water to drink throughout. 

PS: I plan to watch again 'The Dark Knight" for Heath Ledger tonite. Not that I want to compare performances. Maybe. But I just wanted to watch it while seeing the JOKER l[2019] last night. 

I would like to rate the movie 3.5/5

Would I watch another movie with Joaquin Phoenix as a Joker? yes off course. Heard that he is now the official Joker. And it would be interesting to see how he takes the legacy ahead.

Picture sources: google image 

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

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