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Joker (2019)

Joker Review: Written by Yogeswaran Ganapathy @moviemanyogi

Ratings: 4.5/5

Synopsis: A film which chronicles on how a small time clown in Gotham City became the legendary Joker.

Joker Trailer

When the end credits roll, you sit back and let it all settle, and after a point you finally realise that you have just witnessed a masterpiece unfold in front of your very eyes. That is power of the film – Joker!

Joaquin Phoenix is born to play this role. His filmography from The master (2012) to Her (2013), to You were never really here (2017) all made Phoenix brood into a performer who can give life to character of JOKER. Jack Nicholson in batman (1982) was a goofy, campy and eccentric joker. Heath ledger in The dark knight (2008) was an anarchist who did things as he pleased. Joaquin Phoenix gives yet another unique dimension to this character. He explores the untouched  process of how a mere nobody becomes the guy everybody feared in Gotham. 

I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.

Phoenix has the best joker laughter after that of Mark Hamill’s joker. Joaquin blends into the role effortlessly. The way he moves, the way he dances, it is all so effortless and magical. The way he puts effort in each and every step as he runs from his terrors and torments makes us feel the intensity that he faces. One thing is for sure, only phoenix could have done this aspect of joker with such finesse. 

Todd Phillips who had directed the Hangover trilogy, has given such a beautiful, poetic movie. Todd known for comedies, this time ventures into film having dark and gritty tones and delivers splendidly. The director has taken inspirations from Taxi driver (1976) and The king of comedy (1982). He has Modelled the era of the 80s based on these two films. The metaphors running throughout the film are stunning. Comparing the growing number of rats to the number of dissatisfied people is a prime example. The director also takes subtle digs at comedies of current times which made jokes mainly based on sleaze and didn’t have anything innovative to offer. He also ensures that the screenplay moves forward by making innovative use of DC comics folklore. Be assured, I am not going to spoil any of the brilliant twists though.

Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?

The opening sequence shows a group of street children picking on a helpless poor man. They proclaim that he is weak and beat him up. That’s exactly what is wrong with society. Be it the society in today’s times or earlier times, bullying and picking on the weaker sections are constantly persistent and not being spoken of many a times. Joker is ridiculed, constantly bullied and picked upon which brings about a Change in him. The society has never cared for people with mental illness and quite simply neglects them. The gritty portrayal of the society in its real way is a great job done by direction and writing. 

Lawrence Sher gives a cinematography which engages you and at the same time makes you wary of every little detail. The movement of the camera to cover the dance sequences of Joaquin phoenix is poetry in motion. The long shots intensely zoomed in on the joker gives us time to channelise and compartmentalise the feelings of those on screen.

My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face. She told me I had a purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the world.

Robert de Niro plays Franklin Murphy which is almost the continuation of his role from the ending sequences of The King of Comedy (1982). He represents everything that represents the typical materialistic society, too comfortable with superficial fun and games, not caring for the real problem existing in the outside world. Not caring about people. 

The film is haunting and stays with you for quite sometime. This is mainly due to the theme it tackles and also partly because of its heart pounding music by Hildur Guðnadóttir. The writing of the film says That “Society makes the man ” and not the opposite which is usually said. 

Joker will surely stand the test of time and emerge as one of the greatest character studies made on a comic-book character. Heath ledger would definitely be smiling from the heavens, his legacy is restored and honoured. 

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com