“Joker”… A superb Joaquin Phoenix anchors an okayish origin story of Batman’s nemesis

Posted on September 3, 2019


If Jack Nicholson went after campy flamboyance and Heath Ledger reached for mythical resonance, Phoenix’s interpretation of the character is attuned to psychological realism.

Spoilers ahead…

You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/joker-movie-review-venice-international-film-festival-2019-joaquin-phoenix-baradwaj-rangan

By now, we know that no comic-book figure can be allowed to just be. The pop two-dimensionality of the panels is no longer enough. Everyone’s a character, now. They have origin stories, psychologies, narratives that aspire to be myth. And so it is with Joker. When did the clown named Carnival (real name Arthur Fleck) get himself that playing-card nickname, for instance? When did that terrifying rictus come about? When did his hair turn green? What did he want to be? (A stand-up comic.)  Did he wear boxers or briefs? Well, not that question, exactly — though the film does leave us with the answer. But most importantly, we are left with this to chew over: Why, before this film, did no one think of modelling Batman’s most famous rival on Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle? The visual of hellish smoke rising from the streets is right out of Scorsese’s masterpiece, and what is that film’s rotting New York City if not a version of Gotham City here, which is literally infested with garbage?

Continued at the link above.

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