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Probing... Joker (2019)

I have experienced a once in a life time performance, Joaquin Phoenix has blown me away. Tears come to my eyes when I begin to think about how talented he is and how inspiring, for a young actor like me, it is to watch an art form like that unfold on screen. Joker (2019) is a spectacle, a true representation of the unfeasible potential the Batman genre really has. This is by no means a superhero movie but it sure made me feel invincible, The Joker has been a beacon for me since I was young. An icon I almost looked up to and worshiped, growing up able to see countless performances is a pleasure; Cesar Romero, Mark Hamill, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and one whose performance I dare not credit (Jared Leto) but this reincarnation truly embodies everything I’ve longed for. I am going to break this review into sections, one being Joaquin Phoenix, cinematography, concept and history.

Joaquin Phoenix, I am speechless, his performance is breathtaking and I am at a loss for words. It is so hard to concentrate on one element of his performance, firstly his appearance. Phoenix’s physicality has drastically changed for this character, his body is frail and we can visibly see his skeleton through his skin. The Joker is a villain hungry for happiness, I see him as a starving animal. Joker is constantly feasting on the chaos around him and absorbing the fear from the people of Gotham.

Phoenix incorporated his own unique spin on the ‘classic’ Joker laugh, his laugh was not insane or deranged, he did not enjoy laughing. He was in pain, it was uncomfortable to watch him laugh, nobody laughed along with him, he was sick. The idea to create an uncontrollable laughter was genius and I am surprised nobody has thought of it before. Having to watch him strain and force himself to stop laughing was one of the most convincing elements of the whole movie, Phoenix has outdone himself and I do not think I will be able to forget the noice of that deafening laughter. I honestly absolutely loved the originality, never have we witnessed the Joker in a state of vulnerability and this was another dimension to this character I have always wanted. I could discuss Phoenix’s performance until the day I die, I am in awe of him and respect how seriously he takes the craft of acting, It was an honour to watch.

Cinematography, visually this movie was beautiful to watch. At no moment was I bored or disinterested with the content, my attention was kept and this is not ALL down to Joaquin Phoenix. I found the experimental camera framing and angles remarkable, the use of extreme close-ups on props and Joker’s face particularly was genius. I love it when a director tells us what we need to look at, nothing too complex, Todd Phillips gave us all the information we needed and that was through his particular tight framing on the action.

Concept and history, by which I mean how the narrative slots into the ‘batman’ universe and how it respects or pays homage to its previous forms. Conceptually, the plot was seamless and fluid, I believed this was Joker’s one and only story. The journey takes us through the Joker’s dark uprising and yet still effortlessly introduces us to Bruce Wayne and his dark, tragic uprising. Incorporating the Wayne’s felt like a beautiful way to connect our antagonist with his future enemy. I was jumping out of my seat with joy in the cinema, meeting a young Bruce Wayne was everything I needed to make this film cohesive with the Batman I know. Although the Bruce Wayne connection did not initially matter to me, I was not expecting it going into the screening but once it happen it was the best decision that could have been made. Honestly, I felt as though no moment was missed, no detail was brushed over and no opportunity was left. Everything that could have happened, happened and I am so grateful for that. Finally, I get to see my favourite character in cinematic history become a real living, breathing entity that is not simply fuelled by ‘killing the Batman’. Finally, The Joker has been taken semi seriously by an actor and has been given a voice.

To conclude, I found the themes and motifs of this movie to be have emotionally draining, although I do not mean that as a negative. Yes, the content revolves around mental health, murder, death, suicide and especially self-destruction along with everything else, that is nothing less than what I expected from this movie. I wanted it to be emotionally challenging, I wanted to leave the cinema feeling slightly fragile because that is his character and that is exactly how the Joker should make audiences feel. I am so pleased to have witnessed an actor embody this character and take it to the next level whilst still paying homage to those before him, I noticed several nods to Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight (2008) which warmed my heart. I feel so content and happy after watching this movie, I am so beyond impressed and filled with such gratitude to Joaquin Phoenix for making my vision of the Joker become a reality. I cannot wait to watch it again.


About Me

Actor Writer Critic Film Movie Reviewer

Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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