Joker is the newest of the DC comic universe’s movies. Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover trilogy is at the helm for this iteration of the Joker. This is interesting to me, as he changed his normal directorial genre (comedy) to create this movie. The movie also features one of my personal favorite actors working today, Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix portrays the titular Joker, also known as Arthur Fleck. The film also stars Zazie Beetz and Robert DeNiro.
The film makes you uncomfortable. Not because it’s cringy or stupid, but because it’s unsettling. Phoenix’s portrayal of a mentally ill Arthur Fleck is scary, to be sure. Arthur has a disorder causing him to laugh at random times, which may sound crazy in writing, but is incredibly chilling in the film. Phoenix’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen all year, and could definitely be an Oscar contender in my opinion.
The other actors aren’t easy to write off, however. Even if they are overshadowed by Phoenix’s Joker, they still bring their A-game and add to the experience. Zazie Beetz portrays Sophie, the girl living down the hall from Arthur. She is more of a side plot, but is important in developing Arthur’s character and the dynamic he shares with society. DeNiro plays Murray, a talk show host that Arthur is a fan of. He plays a side role until the end of the film. DeNiro’s reserved yet cheerful acting is impressive and is nice to see.
The cinematography is also something to be noted. The color grading (for those that don’t know, the color grading is just how the color looks, things like saturation and such) is amazing and surprisingly colorful. For a film that is so dark, the colors are rather light. The framing and composition of each shot is unique and well done.
The soundtrack was an interesting mix of somber music, intense music, and some old songs from different time periods (specifically the 30s and 70s). The soundtrack added to the experience and kept people enthralled in the movie.
Overall, Joker was a masterclass in the “superhero” genre. It brought something new to the table, and was more of an experience than a movie. It had great acting and a great look to the film, causing people to be sucked into the movie and nor want to leave the dark world it takes place in.