‘Joker’ a gritty comic adaptation

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‘Joker’ a gritty comic adaptation

Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck in the film “Joker.”

Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck in the film “Joker.”

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck in the film “Joker.”

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck in the film “Joker.”

Edan Castiel, Staff Writer

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“Joker” takes place in 1981 in the iconic DC city, Gotham. Arthur Fleck is a party clown and an aspiring stand-up comedian. Arthur lives with his ill mother in a dark small apartment, that seems to be built in the 50s. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving segments of the population disenfranchised and impoverished.
Arthur suffers from a disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times and relies on social services for medication. However, after funding cuts that ultimately shut down social services, Arthur is left with no medication. A series of bad events riddle Arthurs’s life, and you slowly see him become the Joker.
Joker is one of the most iconic villains of all time. And when DC stated that they planned to create a solo origin story for the Joker, directed by Todd Phillps (who directed “The Hangover”), I was as skeptical as anyone. DC Comics has made some horrible films over the last couple of years, and I was paranoid that they were going to ruin the Joker.
I am glad to admit I was wrong.
Joker has been known to have a very hidden past. For example, in “The Dark Night” (2008 Batman film starring the Joker) the Joker (Heath Ledger) constantly lies about his past and his transformation into the Joker. There has never been a proper origin story for the Joker until now, played by actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Before watching the film, the average person would recognize Joker as a homicidal, psychopathic, sadistic, and maniacal villain who just wants to see the world burn, and ever since the Joker was created, that is what he was known for. But this movie offers a new perspective. Joker is not about the criminal who is going toe-to-toe with Batman, it’s about what happened to Fleck that pushed him so far over the edge that he became the monster known as the Joker.
“Joker” is not your typical comic book movie. It has very minimal action, heroic moments, and has no clear antagonist. Viewers should know that this movie is a very serious and dark film. The audience has to understand that this movie intends to make its audience feel uncomfortable at certain points of the movie. The film is seen completely through Arthur’s perspective, as it shows Arthur’s struggle in fitting in with society.
“Joker” should be considered as a cinema masterpiece as it makes the audience sympathize with Arthur, even though you are aware of the monster he becomes. The emotional rollercoaster this movie takes you on will have you thinking about this movie weeks after watching it.
Many things had to come together for this movie to work. The writing had to be precise, the cinematography had to be on point, but, most importantly, the acting had to be perfect. Honestly, I’m not sure if any other actor in the world can play Joker as good as Phoenix. The actor’s performance is absolutely one of the best ever seen in cinema (yes, this is a bold statement). Every time Phoenix was in front of the camera, you can tell he is giving 110 percent. You can tell he spent hours figuring out how to play the Joker and ultimately become him. This film would never have worked if it wasn’t for Phoenix.
There are hardly any bad things to talk about, considering how great this film was. However, there is no such thing as a perfect film.
One of my main issues with the film is the timing. The first quarter of the movie was extremely slow and slightly repetitive. I felt as if the writers could have shortened or even eliminated some of the scenes in the first half of the film.
Although I appreciate the attention to detail and character development, I feel as if some of the scenes were dragged out, especially for a movie with minimal action. Viewers expecting to see this film should expect a slow start, but this should not prevent you from seeing it.
Overall I rate this movie a 97% as there has never been a comic book movie quite like this one. This movie is so unique in the way it tells the tragedy of Arthur Fleck. The cinematography fits perfectly with its tone (pay attention to the cinematography in the bathroom scene), the writing is some of the most unique writing seen in a comic book film, and the acting is some of the best in all of cinema.
I would not recommend seeing the movie if you are below the age of 16. The film is rated R, so viewers should expect to have some scenes that can be slightly gory, disturbing, or have inappropriate language.