A bold, dark and rather passionate enigma that is flawlessly led by a masterstroke by Joaquin Phoenix. Joker, the movie, reflects to a fathomable depiction of Joker, the character, and its origin. It answers a plethora of questions that were imposed in the previous Warner Bros. movies which were quite intentionally left unanswered. The visionary Todd Phillips has orchestrated this movie to a critique’s pleasure. Flamboyantly showing off his directorial and film making skills in previous movies like the hangover trilogy, he just flummoxes the audience with an overwhelming display of versatility through Joker.
Arthur Fleck an internally conflicted and complex personality is a failed comedian and a harassed clown on the outside and yet, is always told to, “put on a happy face” by his mother. His life revolves around his discontent with how he is treated by the monstrous world which is embodied by Gotham City the specimen of mild chaos rearing to engage into greater chaos. All his life he battles the ferocity of a disturbed mental health with a rare condition of laughing uncontrollably in any situation. Although, his laughs in the movie symbolises and defines different notions. The first laugh he has is the product of his special condition, the second laugh is a rather fake laughter that he does to fit in and to agree to the norms of the society. Unfortunately, he feels that whatever he says or tries to covey falls to deaf ears and that his life is a joke that “you wont get”.
He is isolated bullied, and disregarded by the society which enforces him to gradually descent into madness and transform into the clown prince of crime in Gotham City known as the Joker. The movie is based in 1981 and acts as a backdrop of various DC comics universe story-lines, though, the film makers have taken deliberate liberty and freedom from the coinciding DC cinematic universe. Even after comparisons with previous portrayals of the character, Phoenix’s version stands out in a more dramatic way as it describes the journey of how a man with Arthur’s values turns into the criminal mastermind, Joker. One would speculate that with such a solid performance from Joaquin Phoenix, the other characters might have been overshadowed but to one’s surprise all supporting actors were sophisticated and effortless in their element. Along with that, the background score and cinematography perfectly integrated visual representation and the impact that the music has on a certain scenes that just steal your breath away.
The movie is like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that fit perfectly into place by the coming together of various elements carefully integrated by Phillips. In a nutshell, Joker raises a very essential question to the viewers, ‘Is mental health and issues regarding to it being conveniently ignored or sidelined?’. The madness in the end just symbolises the chaos that a mentally unhealthy person goes through while trying to battle their way out of it. It is worth the while for enthusiastic movie lovers and appeals to almost everyone, even with the lack of subtlety and the dark and gloomy nature of both the plot and the story-line.