Joker Poster

Joker (2019)

2h 2m
October 2nd 2019
Crime, Drama, Thriller

During the 1980s, a failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City while becoming an infamous psychopathic crime figure.

Joker (2019) on IMDb

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Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix Arthur Fleck / Joker
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro Murray Franklin
Zazie Beetz
Zazie Beetz Sophie Dumond
Frances Conroy
Frances Conroy Penny Fleck
Brett Cullen
Brett Cullen Thomas Wayne
Shea Whigham
Shea Whigham Detective Burke
Bill Camp
Bill Camp Detective Garrity
Glenn Fleshler
Glenn Fleshler Randall
Leigh Gill
Leigh Gill Gary
Josh Pais
Josh Pais Hoyt Vaughn
Rocco Luna
Rocco Luna GiGi Dumond
Marc Maron
Marc Maron Gene Ufland
Sondra James
Sondra James Dr. Sally
Murphy Guyer
Murphy Guyer Barry O'Donnell
Douglas Hodge
Douglas Hodge Alfred Pennyworth
Dante PereiraOlson
Dante Pereira-Olson Bruce Wayne
Carrie Louise Putrello
Carrie Louise Putrello Martha Wayne
Sharon Washington
Sharon Washington Social Worker
Hannah Gross
Hannah Gross Young Penny
Frank Wood
Frank Wood Dr. Stoner
Brian Tyree Henry
Brian Tyree Henry Carl (Arkham Clerk)
April Grace
April Grace Arkham Psychiatrist
Mick Szal
Mick Szal Woman on Subway
Carl Lundstedt
Carl Lundstedt Wall Street Three
Michael Benz
Michael Benz Wall Street Three

Featured Comments/Tips

"Don’t expect this to be a typical super hero genre movie. This is an artistic cerebral tragedy that many will find brilliant"
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by Wuchak - Is this helpful?UpvoteDownvote
***Not fun, but absorbing, artistic and tragic***

A mentally troubled middle-aged clown (Joaquin Phoenix) who lives with his mother (Frances Conroy) in Gotham City goes from not good to worse when he finally realizes his true identity. Robert DeNiro plays a talk show host and Zazie Beetz the friendly girl down the hall. Brett Cullen is on hand as Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s rich father.

"Joker" (2019) is an arty, slow-burn character study of the popular DC Comics’ villain, but it’s more of a psychological crime drama/thriller and tragedy than a superhero flick (or, in this case, supervillain). The movie’s captivating from the get-go and practically everything works for a broodingly superb cinematic experience.

There are several amusing bits, but this ain’t a fun flick. It’s heavy and tragic. But what’s the message? Simply that this is how a quirky man who wanted to make people laugh became The Joker. He’s a little reminiscent of the clown in Steve Gerber’s “Night of the Laughing Dead” in Man-Thing #5 (1974).

The movie runs 2 hours, 2 minutes, and was shot in New York City (Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan) and nearby New Jersey (Jersey City & Newark).

by solstafir7 - Is this helpful?UpvoteDownvote
Joker. The character that has existed since 1940, has become so heavy with so many different portrayals, different origins, that it feels impossible for any mortal man alive to impersonate the scattered personalities. It is an insurmountable task for any director to digest it all and still produce one more.

Todd Phillips had a crazy challenge. He brought in one of the best actors alive to lift it with him, Joaquin Phoenix. Together, they have built a mass-market masterpiece which is just above the crop. It is appropriately crazy and completely focussed on the central character. The narrator goes close to the shores of that craziness, wets his feet but remains dry to tell this story. It is like those news reporters which go closer to the burning amazon, but it is impossible to step in the fumes. In no way, Joker is telling his story. Instead, his story is told to us and there are pillars of sanity (like the detectives, asylum clerk etc.) which remain steadfast to give a strong anchor to the audience. This dilutes the effect of the film.

With the copious amount of material on Joker already, I wished to consider this film as a standalone character study vaguely inspired by the batman universe. But this is not entirely possible. I was forced to think about it on two levels. With Batman and Without Batman.

With Batman, The Joker is on the home turf. There have been many renditions of Joker, and Heath Ledger's portrayal is still vivid in my mind. I knew that Arthur here will go on to become someone who is going to say, “‎Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos...”. When I was thinking Joker in the context of Batman, I could not keep Ledger's joker too far away. I was searching for a path for Arthur to go from the mentally unstable to the calculating anarchist. I was left searching for that path when the movie ended. To remain as the crown prince of crime, and to justify the title of the greatest adversary of Batman, just mental instability isn't good enough. He needs to be much more intelligent, much more cunning. These traits are often visible early, In the case of Arthur, I could not find that complete foundation upon which the later psyche can stand. This reminded me of Cameron Monaghan's Jerome Valeska. The joker of my understanding is somewhere between the cruelty of Jerome and pitiable delusions of Arthur. Also, the iconic Batman moment was not needed in this. I kept feeling that Joker is trying to stand with the support of Batman's tale as a clutch. A safety net enforced by the producers.

On the other hand, if I consider this movie as a standalone tale, then it was a bit more satisfying. There are tearjerker movies where nothing good ever happens with the protagonist. A series of bad lucks, or difficulties keep blocking a normal life. He is most definitely poor, has a sub-optimal family background, has a medical affliction which is unique and provides a foundation of the pity I felt. This is not very far from Rani Mukharjee's Hichki if you only consider the medical condition. Rani's Naina had Tourette syndrome while Joaquin's Arthur suffers from pseudobulbar affect. The setting and genre make the two films vastly different. More often than not, I have noticed these disorders lift a lot of burden from the narrative. In the case of Joker, couple his disorder with usually being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you have a travesty of human life. Add to that, an unstable parent, amplify it with the volatile societal conditions, you have a perfect decoction of what Joker is made of. As a tale of its own, it works. The delivery is great thanks to the spectacular performance. It also helps to increase the awareness of mental health. But when you strip off all the Batman context, it remains a well-acted and averagely written tale.

Unfortunately, this is a single film, and I felt it is torn between these two polarising treatments. It wants to find its ground, which it finds. But that ground is far from being sensational. It remains somewhat indecisive. It can not be well soaked in Batman lore like James Gordon's tale, Gotham is. I am considering Gotham because both Gotham and Joker do not feature Batman, but they both have Bruce. Gotham understands its lore and fully embraces it but Joker does not want to. At the same time, as a tale of the psychologically troubled protagonist, Joker tries to play safe with the aim to please audience en-mass. I kept thinking about American Psycho and The Machinist. (Coincidently, both star ex-Batman Christian Bale). Those two take you in the psyche of the protagonist. Those take you inside the burning Amazon and not stand at a safe distance. Joker does not aim to do so.

I am not at all qualified to talk about the acting performances. Joaquin Phoenix is in every frame and the way he waltzes between emotions is terrifyingly amazing. The Tai Chi to calm himself down, the menacing stare when finally becomes the Joker, those are chilling. He lives the character to the best of his abilities. Regrettably, he does not have the same level of writing support which Heath Ledger had and so due to no fault of his own, Joaquin could not topple Heath Ledger's portrayal of the crown prince of crime.

If I consider Todd Philips's entire resume, this was a genre shift for him. He knew very well that the biggest trump card is Joaquin Phoenix, so he takes no risk. He keeps him in focus, almost always all the setting and cinematography works for him. The only exception being Robert De Niro. Robert is allowed to carry his scenes quite independently. I think Todd Philips relied on both these giants to carry their parts. Sadly, I had gone to a theatre which had a bad print or screen so I think I will have to watch it again sometimes to enjoy the cinematography.

I realised, I kept writing a lot and this is already over a thousand words. If you are here and reading still, I must say thank you. To summarise, The Joker worked for me and I enjoyed it, but I would not consider it the best depication of the iconic villain from comic books. The best may yet come.
by Sheldon Nylander - Is this helpful?UpvoteDownvote
Okay, this film has already been so widely debated that I’m not sure what I can really add to the conversation. So, I’ll just give my thoughts.

“Joker” is a fairly basic character study of Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man who feels increasingly marginalized by an uncaring and brutal society in Gotham City. To start, the characters, except for Arthur himself, are pretty flat. They seem to have little purpose other than to further Arthur’s story. This includes Thomas Wayne, who in other media is portrayed as a man of many dimensions, wealthy but caring, and instilling these values in his son Bruce. Here, he is portrayed as much more uncaring and elitist. Which gives much less of an impact in the inevitable alley scene we see in everything remotely related to Batman. More on this in a minute. It’s important to the point.

Arthur suffers a condition that makes him burst into laughter at inappropriate times. He also has other unspecified mental illnesses. We’re never given the specifics. This is actually a little troubling because of the general depiction of mental illness. It almost seems like they are saying that if someone is mentally ill then they are a ticking time bomb and it’s only a matter of time before they go off. This is not a good look.

After a series of events, Arthur begins spiraling downward, but at the same time realizes how much influence he can have over other people, an aspect of the Joker that isn’t often explored. And this is where the characters other than Arthur being rather flat comes into play.

There’s more than one indication that we are actually witnessing these events through Arthur’s eyes. And this creates a brilliant depiction of a narcissistic personality. The only character that gets fully fleshed out is Arthur himself, but he can’t or won’t connect with other people to see their depth. As such, we get to see narcissism from the inside, no connection to others and in fact seeing them as pawns in his own schemes. It’s subtle and definitely not in your face, but if you look carefully, the hints are there.

Those who fear that "Joker" would glorify incel violence or otherwise can rest a little easier, but as I mentioned, the film isn't without its troubling portrayals. It does vilify the mentally ill, which creates a whole host of other issues. The movie swings wildly between "excellent" and just "okay," and sometimes even "meh." As such, it gets a recommendation, but only a mild one.
by ikomrad - Is this helpful?UpvoteDownvote
The Joker is similar to the DC Joker character but is not a criminal genius. The movie was a great depiction of how a person who has been mistreated, lied to, and ignored, totally lacking access to human compassion, can snap. The acting is top notch, and it puts a spotlight on the importance of mental health in modern times.
by Leno - Is this helpful?UpvoteDownvote
*A Masterpiece*.

The movie shows the escalating events that made Arthur become the Joker. Initially an inoffensive poor and sick man, Arthur suffered a tide of unfortunate events that pushed him closer and closer to the edge.

Ignored and despised by everyone, sick and alone in the world, and neglected by the State, Arthur becomes progressively more violent until he breaks.

Much more than one more Super-hero movie, *Joker* uses well-known characters to promote the reflection on the "ignored" ones. At least, ignored until they become a Joker.

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