Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

‘Joker’, review: Joaquin Phoenix explores superheroes as an imperfect villain.

By knl9j May24,2024
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Maybe “conventional” is the best way to characterize “Joker” and the emotion it evokes in the people involved (who are, however, showing in the film’s marketing campaign that they have a rather short fuse, but that’s another story). Although it was supposed to be an ode to disorder and incorrectness, the picture is actually quite predictable and follows the style manual of origin films to a remarkably small degree, so there aren’t many shocks. anything you said.

Everything from the protagonist’s twisted rationalizations for his irrational behavior to Joaquin Phoenix’s dancing and exhibitionism scenes (which, as expected, bring to mind that other extreme weight loss performance starring Christian Bale, “The Machinist”). Everything is structured according to the rules that we have seen before in films, where the character ‘Joker’ is prominently displayed. The film isn’t necessarily innovative, but it does have its moments of success and even manages to surprise.

‘Joker’ follows the downfall of Arthur Fleck’s (Phoenix) life as he struggles to make it in Gotham place, a place that he sees as impending doom, and whose troubles seem to multiply daily. He has a neurological disorder that makes him laugh uncontrollably in stressful situations, his mother is unwell, and his profession as a hired clown is going swimmingly.

Naturally, Fleck will only have to click a button to let the darkness to engulf him. “Joker” makes the mistake of oversimplifying everything with heavy symbolism, which is a major flaw in the film’s presentation. In contrast to films like “Taxi Driver” and “One Day Fury,” which are similarly stark and terrifying in their nihilism, “Joker” overexplains everything.

‘Joker’ director Todd Phillips seems oblivious to the fact that his protagonist’s role as a chaotic agent (not his first, but it does demonstrate how methodically this project is progressing, especially in light of Heath Ledger’s work) does not square with the existence of a reasonable justification for the character’s obsession with laughing uncontrollably. Also, he’s a terrible comedian who works as a clown, which is practically contradictory. That’s why he wears clown makeup. But Phillips is always looking for an excuse, and she gets dangerously close to involuntary self-parody when she chains traumas together (which is, of course, contradictory).

The worst part is that the clichés of the “fall into the abyss” overshadow the image of the Joker as an unpredictable enemy, a terrible psychotic Tasmanian demon. There are films like ‘The Voices’ and ‘Willard’ that are much lighter, but also more chaotic, unpredictable, and dark. They’re so different from each other, but they share many traits with this one. Everything here is based on rails that we’ve already been down, even the disconnection from reality that should lead to surprising revelations.

‘Joker’ isn’t a terrible picture; Joaquin Phoenix overdoes the intensity at times, but the film still manages to have intriguing subtleties and a good handle on the tension and tragic aspects. Even though Phillips frequently has the protagonist staring out the window or groaning in front of the mirror, he does occasionally arrange some pretty intriguing shots. Perhaps most intriguingly, the film’s depiction of the city as a desolate wasteland of cracked pavement and wilted vegetation might stand shoulder to shoulder with such ‘Bad Streets’ era masterpieces.

Ironically, the picture excels when it embraces its derivative nature, drawing inspiration from earlier Jokers—which I believe Phoenix and Phillips will also despise. Robert De Niro’s comic performance, Fleck’s body language and speech, and the entire last act, in which Heath Ledger, Mark Hammill, and Jack Nicholson’s specters float over Phoenix’s creation, are what give the character their distinctive charisma. When he considers the Jokers that came before him, the most brilliant lines from the script and the actor’s unpredictable performance become apparent, either in a weird or meaningful way.

Lastly, we have the matter of the risk posed by his message. Phillips looks at the murderer’s actions not with suspicion but with the carefree, non-malicious attitude of “it’s not bad, it’s just that the world made it that way.” This does not mean that he glorifies or diminishes the killer’s actions in any way. Certain incel pride tics do exist, but they cause more shock than worry.

Because the confrontations between individuals wearing clown masks are more about pure vandalism than social upheaval, the film ‘Joker’ is not harmful, regardless of the riots or Fleck’s neighbor’s key involvement. By that measure, “V for Vendetta” succeeded where Alan Moore’s original comic failed, while without the comic’s iconic anti-establishment rhetoric. Still, the picture is undeniably a product of its time and a superb reflection of the metropolitan pressure cooker. ‘Joker’ shines once again in its depiction of the metropolis.

Phillips’ picture has such a tenuous connection to the Bat-verse that it makes it seem if the scenes featuring Batman-related characters were later added. It makes one wonder if the film would have generated even a fraction of the buzz if it hadn’t Superheroes, who were still eager to prove their maturity to the world, were associated with it. A level of maturity he attained many years ago. The page can be turned.

A great number of films have shown the mentally unstable, oppressed people whose breakdowns lead to violent acts. In most theaters, these films languish in the shadows, waiting to be rented by a fifteen-year-old film student who, for an instant, thinks Fight Club might be the biggest thing to happen to cinema. Regrettably, there is an inherent danger in producing films like these that incite fear and panic among the target audience. For example, if a group of young people witness a violent and insane man on screen and feel compelled to empathize with him, they might be motivated to emulate his actions.

The status and function of imitative arts has long been a point of contention, going all the way back to Plato. Let me be clear: I’m not going to take a stand on the film’s justification (or lack thereof), the level of violence it depicts, or the potential level of mass violence it inspires. I don’t think anyone can predict that kind of thing, anyway.

Who knew Pepe the Frog would become a symbol of racist hate? Alternatively, that an army of older males would be mobilized by My Little Pony to invade conferences intended for young girls? What I really want to do is give my evaluation based on what I saw on screen, rather than on the film’s socio-textual merits. As a Batman fan, I felt it was a wasted opportunity because the picture was so bland and lifeless, even though it had a ton of buzz going for it (what with all the Oscar talk and the terrifying terrorist threats).

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