Send In The Clowns: Review of Joker (2019)
Welcome back dear friends and readers. I am, as I have been, your most gracious host. I’ve just returned from my viewing of Joker. The short review? I really enjoyed it.
I definitely have to see it at least once more before I make my final judgment on this next point. But, this might just be my favorite interpretation of the character, and his origin story. While it may borrow certain elements from The Killing Joke, much of it is unique. It’s a stand alone, in-depth, and contemporary exploration of the nature of the character, and the society that created him. At its core, Joker is a quintessential underdog story. Only in this case, our underdog is the villain. A man who embodies the faults of the world around him. A world where the people are tired of dreaming of better days, because they have come to realize that, dreams seldom come true. And if they do, it’s never in the way you expected.
Like Gotham City, Arthur Fleck (the man who becomes the Joker) is so literally and figuratively beaten down and trashed, that he no longer feels physical pain. Like the people of Gotham, his mind is rife with anguish. But when the people of Gotham hear that there is someone out there who said I’m not going to lay down and take another beating, and many become inspired by his actions. A movement is started.
Joker plays around with ambiguity, much to its benefit. Even after the film ended, my friends and I were all still asking questions. The film does an excellent job of showing the audience, both how drastically different, yet similar the economic classes really are. It’s almost as if the rich and the poor are living in two different time periods. In one scene Arthur and his mother are watching television, and it’s an old black and white set. In another scene Arthur sneaks into The Gotham City Theater. It’s beautiful, lavish with its centuries old decor. But the film they are watching is also black and white. While one shows the news and a talk show, the other one a comedy.
Joker also reminds me of two other films, in the way parts of parts of the film has the viewer questioning just how much of what is going on is in Arthur’s head, and how much is actually happening. As well as what is and isn’t a lie. I fear if I name the movies, I may spoil something that I thought was really well done. Let’s just say Joker pulls a Patrick Durden. If you can guess which two movies I’m referencing by that clue, congratulations, you’re a film geek.
The film is wonderfully directed. Todd Phillips does his best interpretation of what a Martin Scorsese film is, and in my opinion he nails it. Just as my friends and I were leaving the auditorium, we made our way to the bathroom line, and in it we struck up a conversation with the other viewers. One name kept popping up. Taxi Driver. I can understand why. There are definitely some similarities between Travis and Arthur. Both are mentally disturbed individuals who have no idea where they fit into society. The two films are also tonally similar. But in my opinion, Joker is shot more like a Luc Besson film, with a splash of Darren Aronofsky. Imagine if you could, a cross between The Professional and Requiem For a Dream.
It’s a very methodical film.
Now, from what I’ve read and also heard, the question is that “if the film does such a good job at mimicking other styles, does it have an identity of its own?” I say unequivocally “yes!”
The dialogue execution paired with Todd Phillip’s unique brand of humor. This sets Joker apart from anything else. The pacing also seems to be an issue for some people. Some people like vaping, others, smoking cigarettes. With those, it’s all about instant gratification. Joker is then like a fine Cuban cigar. It’s a slow, but very flavorful, and smooth, burn. It’s more about the journey than it is the payoff. That does not mean, the movie never pays off. The ending I thought was phenomenal.
The writing, acting, sound track, and film score are all stellar. Joker is definitely going for some awards. I think it’s a strong contender. As I previously stated, I really enjoyed my first viewing but feel as if I need at least one more before I make a final verdict. So I will be ending my review here. I do want to go into a few things that I am not sure if there were just me, or it they were intentional.
In Joker, young Penny Fleck is played by Hannah Gross. In a flashback sequence, they made her look like Margot Robbie. An interesting choice, and I highly doubt this Joker will ever get a sequel, especially one that involves any characters like Batman or Harley Quinn. And the Joker in this film is in his 40’s, which would make Joker roughly 60 to 70 years of age in the modern era, or by the time Bruce would become Batman. Also, if he were to meet Margot Robbie’s Harley, I’m sure she would remind him of his own mother and possibly give him a bit of an Oedipus Complex.
I also really like the name ‘Arthur Fleck’. Arthur is a name that invokes bravery, courage and nobility. And a ‘fleck’ is just a small particle of color, it’s something insignificant. I think the film is trying to tell us something there. Maybe there is a fleck of all those things in Arthur, considering who his father may or may not be. Or maybe that in world so full of injustice, characteristics like bravery, courage, and nobility, have been rendered insignificant. It’s a sentiment that I think many of us can relate to.
Till next time dear friends and readers, remember to be better, not only to yourselves, but to each other. Thank you.
This is a break down of my favorite scene in the movie
I would like to take a moment and thank my fellow Bleeding fools for the opportunity they’ve given me and wish them all a big happy birthday as today is October 10 and they’re celebrating two years of fighting the good fight, It’s been a pleasure fighting it along side you.
Edited by Alexander McCarty
Check out his anime style novel series here!