Joker is a very interesting movie. It has some incredible acting from the Joaquin Phoenix, yet at times it can feel a bit juvenile in it’s portrayal of violence, and it can also be a bit full of itself.
Joker takes place in the dark setting of Gotham City during the 80s. There’s class tension between the rich and the poor. In this dark time, a failed comedian named Arthur Fleck eventually leads class revolt against the rich. This movie heavily draws inspiration from film like Taxi Driver, and the King Of Comedy. This movie is very dark, both in its setting as well as the events that happen to the main character. Fleck is teased, beaten, and abused incessantly. The fact that he suffers from a disorder that makes him laugh when he’s sad doesn’t help his situation at all.
That disorder however, really lends itself to some of the acting in this movie. There are some scenes where Joaquin Phoenix has to simultaneously laugh and cry at the same time. It really is incredible, and he absolutely deserved an academy award for it. His performance is one of the best parts about this movie, and he holds the whole experience together, without him, this movie simply wouldn’t work.
The plot of Joker is very similar to taxi driver. In it, a man is pushed to the edge by an uncaring society, and decides to do something radically violent about it. However, unlike Travis Bickle in taxi driver, who actually does something morally good, Arthur Fleck simply decides to shoot a talk show host (ironically played by Robert De Niro who also played Travis Bickle.) This brings me to what I don’t really like about this movie. The whole story about Fleck becoming a hero for the 99% feels gratuitous, because he really didn’t do anything. All he did was shoot a talk show host because he was being politically correct about his jokes. It seems weird that he’d become a leader of a violent revolution simply over that.
Despite my mixed feelings about it’s plot, Joker has some amazing scenes and acting. It’s a good movie, and it feels very unique as far as superhero movies go. Kudos to Todd Phillips for making this movie, as releasing a movie as slow and unique as this in a market over saturated by a ridiculous amount of superhero movies is a risk, and one more film should take. Joker is worth watching, especially for the amazing acting on display here.