Now this is the role that Joaquin Phoenix was born to play. Joker is beyond one of the most thrilling, catastrophic, menacing, and haunting thrill-ride of October. Phoenix has all the perfect characteristics and attitude for this role. He has the suspicious facial expressions, the bizarre laughs, and has the momentum to build to the craziness as his villain character starts to evolve. For director Todd Phillips, he has stepped up his game with directing. I am used to seeing him direct comedies, or films that are dark comedies. Joker is a dark comedy. The film gets even darker as the film progresses.
The film starts out with gearing on the back story of Joker. The man’s name (before Joker is a name for him) is Arthur Fleck (Phoenix). He is a depressed, crazy, and mentally ill man that has a life he resents. He is on many medications and has lots of people that refuse to hire him or work with him. He also has many financial problems which start to impact his life. Also, his disorders that happen suddenly (most of the time) start to make him grow to be an even more dangerous person. He develops odd creative ideas, fantasizes about violence, and he views his negative actions to be a positive for himself because in his mindset he defines his judgment as funny (even though they are irreparable consequences). Phoenix delivers the role to the top of his game and it is just inviting but also disturbing.
I always thought Heath Ledger’s role of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008) was one of the best jokers, but now I believe there are two of the best. Phoenix is the second. Only difference though, Ledger’s role geared on the mayhem and destruction without much of his back story (besides some childhood moments in certain conversations). Phoenix’s role gears entirely on his back story but leads up to mayhem. However, this one is much disturbing, and it is hard to define Joker as the protagonist or the antagonist. That is what makes Joker so enticing because viewers wonder if they should root for him or for the people he is impacting, but they also wonder if the prior abuse by other characters make them the antagonists. Joker is a film that leaves viewers to wonder who is to blame for the mental problems that have been built up in this Joker’s mind.
Phoenix is one of those actors that I find that has never done a bad role. He always has done something brilliant and this is another brilliant work of art by him. He is always good at playing someone ill-fated, depressed, or angry but expresses it quietly. I find that for this role, he will be praised for it and he already is. Also, I find that when I saw this movie, that Phoenix always can have either a memorable line or habit in his movies. He has that in The Master (2012), Her (2013), Inherent Vice (2014) and many other films. Phoenix always displays something memorable, yet disturbing, and that is why he is right for The Joker.
Overall, this movie needs to be experienced. May have some disturbing moments, but if you’re a fan of superhero movies, then this needs to be experienced. It needs though, to be experienced in a premium format. One that is like IMAX or 70 MM projection. I saw this in IMAX because I wanted to fee like I was watching The Dark Knight again in IMAX like I did back in 2008, and I remember people applauded right when Ledger came into the movie, because the IMAX experience made them feel he is right there. It did that for me with Joker in IMAX as soon as Phoenix came out as that character. I am giving this movie four stars!