Movie Review | Joker [2019]

This movie is not for the feint of heart. If you haven’t seen this movie yet please understand that it should make you think. Look at it not just as some mindless piece of violent entertainment.

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

– Arthur Fleck (Joker)

Genre:  Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker. IMDb


REVIEW

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Extreme Emotional and Mental Disturbances

This movie is a standalone origin story for one of DC’s most notorious Villains. For every generation of moviegoers and comic book enthusiasts there is always a different version of Joker to go against The Dark Knight. And there isn’t one specific origin story that describes where Joker actually started from – he could be always be just as loony or there may be a vat of chemicals involved one way or another. Despite the controversy and concern for violence, Todd Phillips brings to us a frighteningly more realistic truth to Joker and ourselves.

Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, who works as a clown and struggles with mental illnesses. He gets medication and tries to live life normally despite the challenges and he still dreams of becoming a stand up comedian, writing jokes in his health journal. Arthur’s character is one many may relate to – he has an awkwardness that make people uncomfortable, he could fall through the cracks and no one would notice. People watching him would only think of either pity or revulsion, and it’s the root of Arthur’s desire to be seen, loved, and accepted.

For every minute of this film it was all dark and ugly – the treatment, the world, the people. Arthur already didn’t have much to start with, then he starts losing what he thought he has and that hurt goes beyond the film to the viewer. No one can live through a barrage of physical, emotional, and mental beating without snapping. And that is where he finds his truth – that he is more himself in violence and madness.

In my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do. And people are starting to notice.

– Arthur Fleck (Joker)

Joker, albeit [maybe] not meaning to, speaks to the darker side of it’s viewers. The injustices of society, how there are so many unspoken rules people put on others just to satisfy their own want for control over others, or an attempt in bringing chaos under foot. The transition from being the mild mannered Arthur to the destructive Joker is disturbing. Will we all eventually spiral to self loathing as we continue to live in this kind of world? Will humanity justify it’s impulses and start towards a reality of violence? If not, would we just turn a blind eye and accept this kind of reality as a norm?


I knew that I would encounter a lot of triggers in this movie and it rattled my own depression and anxiety demons. Jokers oppression and eventual violence are not something to be cheered at or considered as a permission for anyone to hurt others. I’ve had my fair share of a cruel society but I also know that it isn’t the only thing we humans are capable of.

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