This Website does not target people below the age of 16. The Batman parallels will make you wince, especially when they connect to Arthur’s mother. identifiable information. Following Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix wears the supervillain’s greasepaint, in Todd Phillips’s film. One is Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), the host of a TV talk show, under whose wing Arthur dreams of finding shelter and approval. “Joker” is a miserabilist manifesto. The movie is, for a good stretch, a troubling and arresting character study, one done with nervy conviction. A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user’s computer tied to information about the user. Réveil. Fortunately, he gets by with a little help from his friends. Todd Phillips' DC comic book adaptation (which exists separate from the Justice League movies) was haled as a masterpiece following its Venice Film Festival premiere in August, which then led to a predictable backlash and an equally unsurprising backlash to that backlash. Eventually, he can’t take it any more. Thanks for contacting us. Jaundiced and judicious, deeply cynical yet not quite ready to leap into the abyss, Joker is a provocatively toxic time capsule for an era of misguided rage. please see This is the truly subversive comic book movie we’ve been waiting for. AMC's Gangs of London a Bold Continuation of the Mafia Movie Tradition, Bright Wall/Dark Room September 2020: You Can Have Me for Nothing: Escaping the Cynicism of Ace in the Hole by Elizabeth Cantwell, Miranda July on Kajillionaire, Instagram Filmmaking, Creativity and More, Realizing You're Just a Fantasy in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Read full review Who better than crazy-eyed Joaquin Phoenix? You may laugh with and at this transfixing character, but you can’t laugh him off. “Phenomenal” is a puny word to describe his gut-punch performance. your data confidential. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Share information with our partners to provide targeted advertising and social media features. and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. Yet the film, directed by Todd Phillips, leaves you numb. No longer is he forced to be part of the scenery; he is the scenery, and such is the strenuous effort of Phoenix’s performance that it becomes exhausting to behold. Functionality cookies: these cookies help us remember choices you have made while on our website, remember your preferences, and personalize your Website experience. setting, the social media network will have record of this and may display your name or identifier in relation to this action. Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck becomes iconic DC Comics villain Joker in Todd Phillips' origin story movie. Which is not to go so far as to say that if you buy into “Joker,” the joke’s on you. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this We and some of our business partners (for example, advertisers) use cookies on our Website. By Sandy Schaefer Oct 04, 2019. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year. He’s so thin that, when he strips to the waist and bends, his spine and shoulder blades jut out from the skin; is he a fallen angel, with his wings chopped off, or a skeleton-in-waiting, halfway to the grave? regarding their data collection. incorporated under the laws of Canada, having its head office at 7405 Transcanada Highway, Joker is our comeuppance. I happen to dislike the film as heartily as anything I’ve seen in the past decade, but I realize, equally, that to vent any inordinate wrath toward it is to fall straight into its trap, for outrage merely proves that our attention has been snagged. Now the city swarms with a mob of the frustrated, all sporting Joker masks and wreaking indiscriminate revenge. 154,610, This story has been shared 122,249 times. servers for up to 7 days. It merely invites us to watch his wrongness grow out of control and swell into violence, and proposes a vague connection between that private swelling and a wider social malady. Say hello to Arthur Fleck, introduced by Phoenix as a loser whose struggles with mental illness leave him mostly solitary. Like most standard Web site servers, we use log files. or disclosure of any personal data, we will take all reasonable precautions to protect your data DART cookie enables it to serve ads to our users based on their visit to our sites and other sites on the Internet. number of pages you visit, the time you spend on each page, what you click on next, and other information about your Website visit. A part of me found Todd Phillips’s radical rethinking of the Batman villain Joker thrillingly uncompromising and hair-raisingly timely. This is a disturbing film, a journey into the heart of a damaged man’s psychosis. Joker is a bad movie, yes: It’s predictable, clichéd, deeply derivative of other, better movies, and overwritten to the point of self-parody. It's no secret that Joker - which Phillips also wrote with Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter) - draws inspiration from Martin Scorsese films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, as well as similarly gritty character dramas from the '70s and '80s (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and A Clockwork Orange being two famous examples). If you are accessing our website through a These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. After twelve But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year. This Privacy Policy was last updated on May 10, 2018. And the gut-wrenching, R-rated massacre turns our man in makeup into a tabloid star popular enough to inspire a chorus of masked clowns 
to march in protest against the rich, repped by mayoral candidate Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), the father 
of Bruce. Laughing maniacally, dancing on a stairway to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2,” and twisting his face and body into contortions that defy physics, Phoenix is a virtuoso of unleashed id. Rated R (profanity, violence). Director Todd Phillips digs deep into the shadow side of society for one of the darkest movies in recent memory. A previously introduced handgun is put to use. If the casting of Robert De Niro as a late-night talk show host wasn’t enough to tip you off, the mood and look of “Joker” is deeply rooted in (not to say derivative of) the gritty New York dramas of the ’70s and ’80s, particularly “Taxi Driver,” “Death Wish” and “The King of Comedy” — the latter of which starred De Niro as a creepy stalker obsessed with a popular entertainer. The casting is not just meant to give the movie bragging rights on the zeitgeist curve, but to evoke Diahnne Abbott in both “Taxi Driver” and “Comedy.” Fleck’s seemingly successful wooing of the character is a jaw-dropper that had me thinking Beetz ought to fire her agent, but a late-game clarification makes it … well, forgivable is not quite the word, but it will do. It doesn’t. Earlier, he slew three fellows in suits on the grimy subway: a fell deed that was taken by the have-nots as a call to arms against the haves. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here. Notable Video Game Releases: New and Upcoming, 2020 Fall Film Festival Recap: Best & Worst of TIFF and Venice, 2020 Emmy Awards: Full Winners List + Critic Reviews. Fleck’s alienation in the early scenes evokes Travis Bickle’s, but this movie is too chicken-livered to give Fleck Bickle’s racism, although it depicts him mostly getting hassled by people of color in the first third. Would you like to receive desktop browser notifications about breaking news and other major stories? How much of the movie is real or in Arthur’s head is up to each viewer. supervision. It’s galling, and pretty great. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year. Arthur works for a clown agency, and one of his jobs is to stand on the street in a red nose and a green wig, holding a promotional sign for a local store. The actor’s physicality here is something to behold. Joaquin Phoenix is devastating as the villain-in-the-making in this incendiary tale of psychological escape and psychopathy. (It’s also got one of the most depressing comic-book movie scores, an endless dirge of droning strings by Hildur Guðnadóttir.) DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy. The film is one that might have been dreamed up by one of the cynical douche bros from the Hangover during a blacked-out stupor. Please contact us at Thirty years ago, Penny Fleck worked for him, and Arthur hopes to exploit that distant link, though Wayne has nothing but scorn for the Flecks of this fragmented world. Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman enjoy themselves so thoroughly in Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers film that it ends up revelling in the outrages it purports to condemn. At some point he seems to have surrendered, and when the movie is over you realize Arthur is its only substantial character. servers are certified under the EU-US Privacy Shield. It’s hollow to the core. safety. (The city is beset by rioters in clown makeup and clown masks; because this movie is rather suddenly behind the curve in “clowns-are-scary” awareness—only Pennywise gets a special dispensation these days—these sequences look like “The Revolt of the Juggalos” or something equally laughable.) It’s never quite clear why Arthur’s so emaciated, but the way he contorts his spindly frame, and occasionally stretches it out into a joyful, Kabuki-esque dance, is mesmerizing. Screen Rant (the “Website”) is owned and operated by Valnet inc. (“us” or “we”), a corporation Want more Rolling Stone? His mom (Frances Conroy, the poor woman) has been writing letters to her former employer, the magnate Thomas Wayne, and Arthur opens one of the missives and reads them, learning something disturbing. Yes, the hookup at first is just as unconvincing as it is in the two Scorsese movies to which Joker owes such a massive debt. The final minutes, which will move any sentient viewer to mutter “would you just pick a goddamn ending and stick to it?” are likely an indication of what kind of mess we would have had on our hands had Phillips been left entirely to his own cynical incoherent devices for the entire runtime. Subtlety is not Phillips’s strong point. Full Review Alex Hudson Exclaim! What a gloriously daring and explosive film Joker is. Your Ad Choices “Those of us who have made something of our lives will always look at those who haven’t,” he declares, “and see nothing but clowns.”. site. Ad Choices. However, our partners, including ad partners, Joker is the culmination of that approach, a slab of self-important pop-culture masonry whose only bright spot is the figure dancing brilliantly along its top. In This Article: The year, by my reckoning, is 1981, since “Blow Out” and “Zorro: The Gay Blade” are advertised on cinema marquees. It’s good enough to be dangerous, and bad enough to demand better. DC Comics, Joaquin Phoenix, the joker. If the Marvel/Disney comic-book movies tend toward the chromium brio of the “Avengers” series, the DC superhero movies purveyed by Warner Bros. have taken their cue over the years from the 1986 revisionist graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns,” and they are very dark indeed. What is agreed upon, among those who have seen “Joker,” is the prowess with which Phoenix holds it all together. We respect your privacy and we are committed to safeguarding your privacy while online at our In one bizarre scene, the nabobs of Gotham, in tuxedos and gowns, are even treated to a special screening of “Modern Times.” Why should Phillips nod to a film of 1936, if not to stake his claim as a legatee? Such is the strenuous effort of Phoenix’s performance that it becomes exhausting to behold. For the first time, the man who laughs gets the star spot all to himself. A one-stop shop for all things video games. The Joker’s an anarchic villain for the ages, still wide open for interpretation even after countless portrayals. (Bradley Cooper is a producer.) What’s a sexy, caring woman doing with Arthur? Comics fans will need to keep cool, however, since Phoenix and director Todd Phillips — who co-wrote the script with Scott Silver — have devised a stand-alone origin story that owes no allegiance to the DC Universe canon. Movie review Joker. That’s the joke. Please see our “advertisers” section below for details. The following discloses the information gathering and dissemination practices for this Web This includes internet protocol (IP) The experience of sitting through it is highly unpleasant, but that unpleasantness has less to do with graphic violence — there are only one or two scenes that go hard, gore-wise — than with claustrophobia and boredom. Over-the-top? Joaquin Phoenix goes full Clown Prince of Crime in Phillips' stylish crime drama, but it's not enough to mask the sense of emptiness at Joker's core. Joker is a well-made movie, with a killer performance from Joaquin Phoenix, who seems born to play the role. If any deference is paid, it’s to Martin Scorsese, whose Taxi Driver inspires the gritty look of Gotham City circa 1981 (deep bows to the brute-force camerawork of Lawrence Sher) and whose lead character in that film, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), lives in the same bloody torment as our clown-face antihero. Joker is a brilliantly executed melancholy exploration of mental illness, anchored by a riveting performance from [Joaquin] Phoenix. Here’s the deal. Gotham City has always represented the worst of America's urban cities. Its final act is, indeed, bracingly over the top, as Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck sheds his sad-sack chrysalis and emerges into full-blown Joker mode. Users may opt out of the use of the Up, then down: a grin, a grimace. Running time: 122 minutes. The downside to the performance is the downside to the movie: It’s one note played louder and louder. in order to ensure your data security. Not least of all, a film where Phoenix gets to truly let loose, dance wildly in slow-motion (enough so to make a drinking game out of those scenes), and dig deeply into the mindset of a character who's covered head to foot in scars both psychological and physical. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. It's dark and disturbing, sure, but mostly for its own sake. “Joker” has its own political poise. To be worth arguing about, a movie must first of all be interesting: it must have, if not a coherent point of view, at least a worked-out, thought-provoking set of themes, some kind of imaginative contact with the world as we know it. We use the information we collect in order to: We do not sell or rent your personal data to third parties. When Dalí and Buñuel made “L’Âge d’Or” (1930), they wanted to start a riot, and they succeeded, but “Joker” yearns for little more than a hundred op-ed pieces and a firestorm of tweets. Terms of Use Sophia Hutchins and Caitlyn Jenner in talks to join ‘RHOBH’, Amanda Seyfried secretly gave birth to her second child, a baby boy, Dax Shepard surprised by support follow drug relapse revelation, '90 Day Fiance's Larissa Dos Santos Fired After Strip Tease on Adult Website, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved, Professor ripped after implying Amy Coney Barrett is a 'white colonizer'. Maybe. By a charming coincidence, for example, two major scenes take place in public toilets. As Gotham begins to burn (the civil unrest starts with a garbage strike), Fleck, who has been taken as a vigilante by much of the city’s 99%, doesn’t quite know what to make of his underground cult stardom. October 2, 2019 | 8:23pm | Updated January 3, 2020 | 4:10pm. Analytics and performance cookies: these cookies help us collect statistical and analytical usage to help up analyze website usage. (Bradley Cooper is a producer.) and will notify you as required by all applicable laws. Administer our Website, including troubleshooting, and statistical or data analysis; To improve our Website and enhancing user experience by ensuring you have access to personalized content in line with your interests; Analyze user use and optimize our services. Essential cookies: these cookies are essential to the provision of our Website. It’s just immature. Its characters are one-note cartoony, but fun is the last thing on this movie’s mind; it’s all despair, from its opening scenes on downward. We want to hear from you! privacy practices of such other sites. Sandy Schaefer is Screen Rant's Movie Reviews Editor and an Associate News Editor. Phoenix’s tic of a laugh is, indeed, disturbing, though it always seems vaguely forced. By visiting this Website. If you have clicked “yes”, your consent will be stored on our servers for may collect data in relation to your Website usage as disclosed herein. Get it?) The truth is, it’s just a movie — a fine movie, not a great movie, a movie that will please the specific subculture of fans it aims to service, while those who have survived this long without caring about comic-book movies can go on not caring. We are meant to think of the masks, comic and tragic, that were worn by the actors in ancient Greek drama. The cinematography by Phillips' trusted DP Lawrence Sher brings Arthur's home to opulently grimy, grubby life, with Chernobyl composer Hildur Guðnadóttir's gloomy and ominous score imbuing the whole thing with an air of operatic doom. Whenever we change our privacy policy, we will post those changes to this Privacy Policy page, and other Phillips, best known for the farcical hijinks of Road Trip, Old School, and the Hangover trilogy, uses the New Hollywood influence to add darker shades to his palette, but he finds a flinty, individual style as the plot progresses. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. It’s a different take on the DC comics character, and why not? Cuts to welfare, we are told, will soon block Arthur’s access to therapy and medication, and the movie’s plea for the downtrodden to be given their rightful say harks back to Frank Capra and Chaplin. Read the Empire review. games, before Glitter was convicted, in 1999, of possessing child pornography, and, seven years later, of sexually abusing minors, in Vietnam. If you wish to disable cookies, you may do so through your individual browser options. If you live to see Joaquin Phoenix go to performing extremes like nobody’s business, this movie really is the apotheosis of that. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself. You have the right to request information regarding the data we have on file for you, to request There’s an Oscar in this. Since then, understandably, the song has tumbled out of favor. As social commentary, Joker is pernicious garbage. But there’s nothing “bonkers” about it. 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