Ever since I watched the trailer of the much-anticipated movie of the year ‘Joker’, I have been waiting to watch it and write the review. And the day has come.
So, I did watch the film at the theatre, and I was in awe of actor Joaquin Phoenix for portraying ‘Joker’ with such perfection.
If you don’t know, Joaquin Phoenix is a method actor. He feels the character and gets to the core to play the role. I am sure you have watched one of the best movies of all time, i.e., ‘Gladiator,’ where he played the villainous Commodus, and he nailed it.
Not only did he justify playing his character in ‘Gladiator,’ but also in movies like ‘Her,’ ‘The Master,’ ‘Walk the Line.’ He is profoundly known for ‘method acting’, as I mentioned earlier.
Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ depicts the origin of the character. How and why Arthur Fleck becomes a Joker. It is a melancholy psychodrama, where the character gradually takes you to a journey of his life.
Late actor Heath Ledger’s performance as ‘Joker’ in The Dark Knight is an iconic figure in the history of Hollywood. He received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor category, also numerous accolades from every corner of the world for his unforgettable performance.
Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ is a tribute to Heath Ledger, I believe, in the right way.
Over the decade, the character Joker has appeared on the screen quite a few times, but this time the film is all about him.
As the movie gets started, we are introduced to Arthur Fleck applying make-up sitting in front of a large mirror, apparently preparing himself for his job as a clown. He put his fingers into each corner of his mouth and pulls up and down a grinning face, tears run down from his right eye, smudging the eye make-up.
The intense look on his face depicts the deep and dark story of his life.
Arthur is a clown, but he wants to pursue his career in stand-up comedy. He is not funny at all. He is psychotic, having a condition of an uncontrolled laugh; he has been institutionalized earlier, he is seeking help and is on high medications.
Arthur maintains a journal where he scribbles down all his thoughts and jokes. His thoughts –
“All I have are negative thoughts.”
He said this while having a session with his social worker. He knows that he is troubled, and his condition is getting worse. He asked his social worker to increase his medications.
“Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”
Todd Philips’ ‘Joker’ shows an era where society judge people based on class and money; increasing unemployment issues creates constant chaos in the Gotham city.
A society that isn’t welcoming to a person like Arthur. All he wants is to make people laugh, but his neurotic conditions and incapability of social interaction have pushed him into the gutters.
There is a scene at the very beginning of the movie where he is doing an odd job of clown advertising on the side of the street.
He is neither disturbing anyone nor creating any issues to the public, but a few reckless young boys snatched Arthur’s advertising board and made him run, later beat him to bleed.
While running, you will notice how his oversize clown shoes were stomping the ground. Again, and again, people around him were either making fun of him or mistreating him of his naiveness. His adversities of life are never getting better.
Arthur’s transformation begun when he killed three young fellows in a metro in self-protection. So, here takes the gear of his character.
From a weirdo he progresses towards being a monster. He now becomes more disturbing and intricate than earlier. The moment he saw the protest in the city grew where the public wearing masks of joker, it made him feel happy and relieved.
His character became even more complicated when he discovered that his mother wasn’t his real mother and she used to torture him when he was a kid. The scene was very unexpected when he suffocated his mother in the hospital.
His last words to his mother were when she called her ‘happy’ –
“I haven’t been happy one day out of my entire f**king life.”
From this moment onwards, he grows on destruction, creating chaos and bringing violence. He accepts the invitation to the TV show ‘Tonight with Murray Franklin’, which he used to watch with his mother and dream of going to that show someday.
The best moment of that scene is Arthur completely transforms himself into the avatar of ‘Joker’ appearing in the show with the full make-up, dying his hair in green and wearing a suit.
(The presence of Robert De Niro in the role of a host is charming. He is one of the best actors that I know and admires of.)
The isolated Arthur has emerged into a different bold personality. I wouldn’t say Arthur is a monster. I would instead point out and say that ‘society has pushed him to become a Joker whose ultimate motives are to create chaos everywhere.’
If you notice in the later part of the film, Arthur Fleck is mostly shown onscreen in makeups. He realized that he has now emerged as the new hero of the society who doesn’t like the rich. People are starting to notice him.
In many circumstances, especially towards the end, I tend to miss the great late actor Heath Ledger. Without a doubt in my mind, Joaquin Phoenix’s determination in playing the character Joker can be vividly seen.
Todd Philips’ cinematography team has put considerable effort into creating such a masterpiece. The camera takes close shots in the scenes where Arthur’s physical reaction and expressions were shown.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix’s acting could fetch him an Oscar award, I hope. Already, speculations are going around about him considering the best actor for Oscar.
He, as Joker isn’t charismatic or charming, but his acting prowess is so perfect that I (as an audience) kept drawing towards his character. In this film, everything about him is clearly defined leaving behind no dots. He is sympathetic yet creepy.
If you ask me what I like the best in ‘Joker,’ definitely Joaquin’s facial reactions at each dialogue that he delivers. The reactions of frustration, anger, lost, hopeless, love, grin everything he expresses through his eyes and lips.
Please do watch this masterpiece. This is what I can say.
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