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JOKER: Movie review - Smile and put on a happy face

By Darren John - Oct 7, 2019
JOKER: Movie review - Smile and put on a happy face

If you love the spectacle of cinema, this is the must see movie of the year! Joker is not a superhero movie. Joker is an intense character study, a dramatic origin story that’s deep, gritty and sad.

Like many, I was sceptical when I heard about this new movie. Why make a stand alone film like this? How would anyone be bold enough to try and follow Heath Ledger’s portrayal of this character in The Dark Knight? Was this all really necessary at all? I was honestly not at all interested in this movie at all.

Then the buzz started. The critic’s began making a positive noise after its premier recently. And finally, my eldest son indicated his eagerness to watch this film, and so, I changed my mind and decided to give it a chance.

Set in the late 70’s or early 80’s, Joker introduces us to Arthur Fleck, a man making the most of the very little life has dealt him, in a city on a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral. As we grow to know Arthur, we see his circumstances taking more and more turns for the worst and how he is forced to deal, both mentally and physically, with each increasing setback.

As mentioned before, Joker is not a superhero movie – don’t go in expecting familiar DC characters blasting their way across the screen. Joker could not be further from that, in fact, if you removed the title & face paint, you’d be left with a compelling tale of an unfortunate man’s decent into madness.

The film it’s self is a thing of beauty, stunningly shot, meticulously directed with a haunting score and a lead performance that will stay with you forever.

 

While there’s been a huge amount of negative hype surrounding its release, Joker is no more dark and violent than the average crime drama on television. Don’t be put off by the naysayers and miss your opportunity to see this masterpiece on the big screen.

Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy; Due Date and War Dogs) makes a bold departure from his unique brand of adult humour to bring us something that could not be further from his comfort zone.

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator; Signs and Walk The Line) is nothing short of incredible in his portrayal of Arthur’s gradual transformation into the title character.

He endears himself to the audience who then have to grapple with their feelings of sympathy for him while being terrified of what he may eventually be capable of. A special mention must go to legendary Robert De Niro, who’s supporting role of Murray Franklin, a television talk show host, perfectly embodies every similar personality of the era.

I firmly believe that Phoenix & Phillips will be, at the least, nominated for Oscars for their acting, directing and movie if not cleaning up completely. With so many mediocre and instantly forgettable efforts distracting us on screens of late, it’s refreshing and encouraging to enjoy a helping so delicious that leaves us hungry for more!

As always – best viewed at IMAX!

JOKER: Rating 5/5

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