Review: Joaquin Phoenix Makes the Joker’s Darkness His Own
‘Joker’ is directed by Todd Philips.
Joaquin Phoenix Makes the ‘Joker’s Darkness Uniquely His Own
Featuring a fully-immersed performance by Joaquin Phoenix as the lead, Todd Phillips’ Joker is a gripping portrayal of one of the most popular comic-book villains that will ultimately become Batman’s nemesis. Arthur Fleck is a man tormented by his inner unsettling feelings. As he struggles to make a living as a clown, he finds his hero in talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) whom he begins to idealise.
After Heath Ledger immortalized the Joker in his Oscar-winning performance in Dark Knight, Phoenix obviously had a tough act to follow. But with his career-defining performance in the Todd Phillips’ directorial, Phoenix certainly proves his remarkable skill and genius.
Written by Todd Phillips and Silver Scott, the Scorsese universe (King of Comedy and Taxi Driver) Joker exists in is dark and brutal. The Joker uses his laugh to register his protest and, in a twisted way, cope with his unbearable life that is devoid of a safe sanctuary. He tends to his sick mother (Frances Conroy) and faces up virtually everyday to his unfulfilled dream of being a successful stand up comedian.
Arthur’s seamless construct as the unhinged killer routinely at loggerheads with society is a fascinating watch.
It’s a difficult watch as sometimes you want to empathize with Phoenix’s character and how the everyday bullying is pushing the man to a frightening brink. But as soon as the Joker’s mask takes hold of Arthur, the death stare hypnotizes us into suspending our judgment and just seeing the face of evil unleash complete chaos and anarchy! Lawrence Sher’s probing camera brings to life the 1980’s morally corrupt, decaying Gotham city that the story is set in mirroring the mental state of its eponymous character.
Arthur’s seamless construct as the unhinged killer routinely at loggerheads with society is a fascinating watch. Here is a frail-framed and powerless man who seems to “feel” nothing. And yet his joker mask catapults him into a life where he becomes the face of utter breakdown of all order and rule.
Joaquin Phoenix has certainly set a new benchmark with his performance as Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian and his ultimate rise as the arch villain of Gotham City, making the esoteric dark character uniquely his own. Safe to say his performance is every bit worth the hype.
4.5 QUINTS out of 5!
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