DC Comics fans are quaking after watching Todd Phillips’ version of Joker! Receiving the 8-minutes long standing ovation and taking home the Golden Lion at the 2019’s Venice Film Festival (VFF), didn’t leave the Joaquin Phoenix’ version of the Joker ‘unharmed’. Many critics are saying that the movie was too dark, even one review via The Guardian stated that “..Joker is the biggest disappointment of the year”, while some other totally praised the dark origin story of the Batman’s supervillain.
Yes, the controversy surrounding the movie might led you to confussion whether to watch it or not all. As for our honest opinion, the movie is totally fine if you’re into the very dark, psychological-twisting, with a hint of thriller. But, if you’d prefer the more comical version, which probably more suitable to your little ones, this R-rated movie is absolutely a no go.
The story was taking times around 1980s, where Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) described as a total loser and loner, living with his elderly mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy) in their crappy apartment, somewhere in Gotham City. Arthur has this neurological condition, where he is liable to break into screeching laughter at (most of the times), inappropriate moments. He also secretly in love with his neighbour, Sophie (Zazie Beetz), a single-mom who lived with her kindergarten-daughter. Working as a party clown with grinning makeup and floppy-toed shoes, Arthur Fleck is always pine to be a comedian, and worshipping TV host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). One day, he was bullied and beaten up by three men, just in time where he got fired from his job inside a subway. With the burden and despair that are too much too much to handle, Arthur finally realizes that his true ‘talent’, was nothing but killing.
Now, here’s the thing, this Joker movie is too real. It’s not your typical comicbook movies. Please just note that before you make your decision. So, do not ever, ever hoping that there is going to be Batman beating him. In some point, Todd Phillips might be taking a very little inspiration from 1988’s Batman: The Killing Joke to the film. Like, with the outfit, makeup and the green hair, and also the small part of the main character being a failed-comedian and then he just turned evil because of the overbearing pain. But for the most part, the 2019’s version of Joker is nowhere to be found in any Cape Crussader’s comicbook. It is new, it is fresh, and it is desperately mindblowing. Some old speculated theories about Joker and Bruce Wayne might be appearing, but we are not going to spoil you any further. Lol.
The film seemed to be really bold, describing intense violence, from the bully and humiliation, to the chaotic riot, psychopatic kills and more. Todd Phillips’ execution on describing Arthur’s transition to Joker, to us, is just a top knotch. Every small details with the body languange, the facial expression, the iconic Joker laugh, everything are beautifully done and well-delivered. Joaquin Phoenix’ effort to lose 52-pound (24kg) of his weight is also putting the cherry on top, making him looks exactly like the disturbed-version of Heath Ledger’s Joker with that skinny-ass body and the very visible slats. Aside from the writting and directing elements, Lawrence Sher’s (Godzilla: King of Monsters, War Dogs) take on the movie ambience and tonality is really adding the horror vibes to it. In addition, the music by Hildur Guðnadóttir (The Revenant, Sicario) also holds a huge factor of why the movie is good.
Overall, Joker’s background story will always be tragic, full of madness and desperating. It is very dark, yes. Very, very dark. But it is, what it is! Is it worth to watch? In our honest opinion, yes. Is it going to ‘traumatize’? For some people, probably.
Thus, since the film is R-rated, we encourage you to NOT TAKING YOUR CHILDERN OR ANY KIDS UNDER 17, as the film contains heavy violence content, cursing words and other trigerring behaviour.