Todd Phillips’ Joker is by far the most disturbing and disturbing film that will appear on cinema screens in 2019. The film is separate from the current DCEU franchise from Warner Bros. It is instead the one-time story of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Joker is a mentally ill rental clown and sees Fleck getting more and more in touch with reality in the course of the story, leading to murderous results.
It is fair to say at this point that Joker is perhaps the most controversial film of the year. However, this has demonstrably not done anything to harm Joker’s box office performance. However, what is equally true is that no 2019 film has turned out to be as ruthlessly dark and disturbing as Joker. Although it is hardly shocking that a film that focuses its attention on The Clown Prince of Crime (albeit a very different interpretation of it) would do its best to deepen the audience, it is nevertheless impossible to deny that Joker’s goal was more definitive than any other film that was released this year.
The Joker has seen several previous incarnations on the big screen, often notable because of the level of dedication that has been poured into it, but no one has placed the character in the same spirit as Joker. Tim Burton’s Batman offers a somewhat better comparison point than others due to the mere fact that the overconfident gangster Jack Napier, played by Jack Nicholson, is the only other cinematic version of the character with a clear background story. Arthur Fleck from Phoenix is really his own Joker, a man who has experienced a lifelong mental decline. In particular, Fleck’s frequent attacks of involuntary laughter make him subject to everything from contemptuous looks to outright strokes of perfect strangers, and his condition makes him socially isolated and unable to relate to almost everyone around him ( Fleck’s smile is also said to be an element of the character that Phoenix eagerly strived to perfect.) Indeed, evidence of how deeply Fleck is in trouble presents itself early in the film, with Fleck having the fantasy of introducing himself to it. studio audience of the talk show organized by Murray Franklin, played by Robert De Niro.
Joker is of course hardly the first film with an exceptionally dark tone or makes a person go crazy, but it is also clear that Todd Phillips has intentionally structured the film so that the audience feels deeply restless. In particular, the aforementioned comedy club performance by Fleck is an irreversible disaster, even without his subsequent mockery by Murray Franklin, with his spontaneous laughter killing his ability to make a decent first impression on his audience. In this scene and countless others in Joker, Phillips Force feeds the audience the bleak reality of Fleck’s life, that of a man who is at the mercy of grim circumstances beyond his control and blocked at every turn to achieve true happiness.
Much has been written about Joker in the run-up to the release, and possibly as much has been written since his debut. With all the controversy and deconstruction of the film before and after the theatrical release, it is destined to be dissected and discussed for years to come, especially given how open to interpretation Fleck’s experiences in the film are. Nevertheless, Joker only gets stronger as the most uncompromising gloomy and deeply troubling film of the year.