“Joker” turned out to be a very decisive movie for online people this year. Some absolutely hated it, some praised it to the gods. Some said it promotes incel culture, some applauded the way the script expressed certain themes. I, well, was somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t blown away by it, but I didn’t hate it, either.
“Joker” tells the story of how Joker became the famous DC villain we all know (and love). It’s his descend to madness story. Interestingly enough, I thought it strayed from the character we discovered in the past years. Because the Joker we see at the end of this movie is quite different from Heath’s Ledger or Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Arthur Fleck is not diabolical, and he doesn’t seem particularly smart.
He is a sad, disturbed, mentally-ill person who got treated like shit for most of his life, and at one point he snaps. The lack of love and of proper institutional support takes him over the edge and makes me realize there is nothing and no one that can stop him. And that transforms him into a dangerous man, because he has nothing to lose.
That’s a very scary thought, and I guess that’s why people commented about the incel glorification. I didn’t see it like that. I saw it simply like an explanation of the type of character, because if definitely didn’t make me care for him. It was clear from the beginning he was a sick man, so I was just waiting to see when he snapped.
Acting-wise, Joaquin Phoenix was amazing. All credits are due and any nomination is very well deserved. It was hard to watch his performance, so I guess actually playing such a disturbing character must have been even harder. Props to Robert De Niro, as well, who was great as the TV host who invites Fleck on his show. Their last scene was extremely powerful and suspenseful, I loved it.
In terms of direction and cinematography, it was actually really good. I loved the way Todd Phillips shot the movie, it definitely had some interestingly scenes (the dancing, the TV show part, etc.). It was a bit brutal at times, but the story asked for it.
I think the weak point of the movie, from my point of view, was the script. It fell a little flat for me. I mean, I was disturbed by some scenes, and I was invested in finding out how this ended, but it didn’t surprise me or provoke a hard reaction. And, like I previously said, it portrayed a different kind of Joker than the one I knew and loved, and now that I think about it, this threw me off-guard. This one was…pathetic. Sure, I cared for his story, but it didn’t make me excited for things to come. Because I really can’t see Arthur Fleck becoming a diabolical genius.
In conclusion, “Joker” was a good film with a very good performance by Joaquin Phoenix, but it’s definitely not a masterpiece.