The Joker Review


By Brenon Reed

The”Joker” film poster released to theaters Oct. 4, 2019.

Many different actors have brought to life their interpretation of the infamous character the Joker. From Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series (1992) to Heather Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), each of these characters has the same concept of an evil clown, with green hair and a daunting smile. However, Joaquin Phoenix brings a new and unique portrayal of the character that hasn’t been seen in any other Joker related film. Every scene in the movie shows the complexity of the character. By the end of the film, it leaves the audience with no words to describe the character or his motives.

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, shows the life of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) before he becomes the notorious Joker. The film conveys Arthur’s struggles with mental illness while living in the crime-infested Gotham City while trying to fulfill his dream of being a stand-up comedian. This dream sparked from his mother telling him that he was put on this Earth to spread joy and smiles.

After a mugging on the subway Arthers violent reaction creates a mass movement against the greed of the rich in Gotham city. While tension is rising on the streets, Arthur attempts to make it as a comedian with little success. Arthur’s comedy act is featured on “Live!” with Murray Franklin, a late-night talk show which Arthur takes inspiration from, but is mocked and humiliated on live television by one of his idols. These scenes showed Phoenix’s unbelievable ability to portray a complex character, through persuading the audience that his mental illness was not just part of the fictional character but truly in his head.

In every scene, the audience falls deeper into the spell of Phoenix’s acting. His ability to commit to a character is fascinating. In certain scenes Arthuer dances around his living room in such a way you feel that something is wrong in his head. Joaquin’s acting leaves the audience at the edge of their seats, as he escapes the hands of the authorities following his murders. By the end of the film the audience is unsure of whether they sympathize with Arthur or find his behavior unnerving.

Throughout the whole film Phoenix is trying to be accepted in his community despite his mental issues. Joaquin does an impeccable job of creating a new image for the Joker. Mainly through his skill of persuading the audience of having such a disorder as well as overall portrayal of the character. With the main message being that Arthur wanted nothing more than to be accepted and recognized in his community regardless of his mental disability.