- Fiona Prior
Updated: May 2, 2020
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Written By: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
There are some cultural icons you feel should hit the earth as they intend to continue.
As far as the ‘Joker’ goes, that would be as the delivery of a psychopathic baby in full grease paint with an hysterical cackle.
This actually works better than the back story by director Todd Phillips; a disturbing examination of how an abused child from a broken home who is kicked and beaten through life gets access to a gun and ends up as the murderous emblem of extreme and violent civil unrest ... Decidedly unfunny.
Along the way we do meet young Master Bruce Wayne and a middle-aged version of Alfred played by Douglas Hodge ‒ that Brit accent is a give-away.
The acting of Joaquin Phoenix (Joker/Arthur Fleck) is Shakespearean, but the script of the ‘Joker’ is trying so hard to be a cult movie it diminishes Phoenix's amazing portrayal of a mentally unbalanced young man descending into insanity.
Don’t think this film will resemble any comic or graphic novel you know. Even Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ (2005) ‒ I really enjoyed this movie ‒ had both redemptive and camp-ly amusing moments.
An outstanding performance by Phoenix but 'Joker's' script is trying way too hard to be sensational and topical. In 'Joker', the faceless, angry masses of Gotham City are literally that ... all wearing clown masks, burning cars and killing people. The nihilism of the film isn't profound (unfortunately, or it could have been a great movie) nor blackly funny (à la Tarantino).
Not cool enough to deserve to become a cult film though it may ...'Joker' will be a box office success for all the wrong reasons.
The violence of ‘Joker’ warrants its R rating.