I don’t think I’ve seen a movie like this in the DC universe, or perhaps even movies in general in a very long time. There’s a good movie, and then there’s an absolute masterpiece, and this is definitely an absolute masterpiece. It’s funny that Todd Phillips, who generally makes films in the Comedy genre, could come up with a brilliant 2hrs of comic book/drama in the most perfect way possible. And even funnier that Todd claimed that the movie has nothing to do with the DC universe, where in fact it had so many ties to the Batman mythology. I mean come on, it’s Gotham, there’s an Arkham Asylum and even the Waynes in the movie..
You watch the movie, and you’re astonished and left thinking, and that is a trait that only a few movies in the history of cinema have achieved. You can take Tarantino with Inglorious Bastards and Nolan with Interstellar. On top of the brilliant 120 pages script that Joker has, and the directors’ cut that I hope gets released, it is extremely noteworthy to mention the perfect coordination of all the departments of the production crew. This movie would have performed okay with a defect in a few elements, but it did wonders instead because all the elements (departments) of the movie were in perfect synchronization. From the traditional joker makeup to the costume design and further to the soundtrack, not once was there a discrepancy in the well-put film. Not to mention, there was absolutely no CGIs in the movie. How BRILLIANT!
The soundtrack – Outstanding. The cello perfectly portrays the intensity of emotions that dances on the polarity of emotions the character goes through. I don’t think we could have expected any better from Hildur Guðnadóttir, in fact, she started composing the music before the movie was even shot. She said she composed the music based on how she felt whilst reading the script that Todd sent her, and frankly, I think she couldn’t have captured the string-based melody any more right. I think I’d rate the OST in level with one of Interstellar. They both succeed to describe the intensity of the scene and its emotion. Oh, and how beautifully did they use Sinatra’s That’s Life. Zimmer for Batman and Guðnadóttir for Joker is truly a great delight!
The makeup was probably more traditional and a classic look than the previous wild disappointment from Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad. What I liked, even more, was how subtle Joaquin Phoenix’s hair was dyed in green. Just perfectly aligned with the sophisticated joker costume. The scene of Joker’s dance down the stairs is the epitome of the perfect Joker scene right off the comic book into real life. Killing Joke vibes pretty much.
And Joaquin Phoenix. I think the man can finally retire, he has left an impact that will be remembered forever. The man definitely deserves an Oscar. Honestly, I would say, the Oscars deserve the Joker. I never thought that his acting will compete with Heath Ledgers’. I was mind-blown with his talent. He lost weight, a good amount of weight, practiced for hours for his roles without the help of CGIs of any sort and even practiced dancing for months to perfectly nail the role. What I personally look for in a real actor, is his capacity of making the audience feel emotions even with a subtle face. Which, Joaquin Phoenix was able to portray. Oh, and the laugh. The pathological laughter, although different, probably again levels with Ledgers’ and even from the animated Joker. It’s perfect, how he can make you understand how his laugh is making him choke and suffer when he doesn’t even have the desire to laugh in the first place. It’s so sad honestly, but I think Todd did a great job in bringing forth this condition forward for people to understand. It’s a bit rare but definitely needs awareness.
The movie, in general, did a fantastic job of bringing forth the harsh judgment that comes from society about mental illnesses, especially back in the day. What hits me the most was the quote, “The worst part of having a mental illness is that people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. And also to mention the quote, “Oh, why is everybody so upset about these guys? If it was me dying on the sidewalk, you’d walk right over me. I pass you every day and you don’t notice me! But these guys, what, because Thomas Wayne went and cried about them on TV?” hit differently. The movie portrayed so much, from mental illnesses to resistance but it’s crazy to see how most critics are being hard with the violence portrayed in the film. It’s a movie on one of the darkest villains of the DC in the most realistic setting possible, not a Marvel film full of meaningless comedy.
There’s honestly so much that I can write about this movie, and I feel like the more I’d see it in the future, the more conspiracies or theories I’d come up with.
Here’s another quote that I think is also noteworthy while critiquing the aspect of violence in the film, “What? It’s okay, Gary. You can go. I’m not going to hurt you”; “You’re the only one that’s ever been nice to me”. Not that I’m trying to justify the violence of any sort here, I’m just pointing out that maybe it would always be more insightful to look into someone’s story from there side before moaning about the conclusion. And I think, the movie did an incredible job of portraying the harsh reality.