Thoughts on Joker

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Joker

Directed By: Todd Phillips

A lot has already been written dissected and yelled about this deep dive into the psyche of the Joker. Some interesting topics like art, censorship, the cultural responsibility of artists, violence in films, etc are involved. Not to mention why the yelling over this particular film and not countless other super violent movies that come out?

And is Joker even worth it?

I mean that’s something everyone has to answer for themselves. I thought the movie was… okay. It wasn’t as great as some people are making it out to be and it wasn’t as awful. Quite frankly I’ve seen worse on the violence scale.

Joaquin Phoenix is really good here but I think he’s best where you can see the edge. A couple of meetings with the shrink for instance when you can see the anger and then at the very end when he embraces the madness. There are more times than not when Arthur was obviously the act which is an interesting decision considering they get a line in there about how the problem with being mentally ill is people want you to act like you aren’t.

Whether the film makes you feel sympathy for him or asks you to is something else I think will be personal. Having suffered from mental health issues and severe bullying I wondered if I would and due to the yelling about the movie I wondered what that would say about me. Early on I couldn’t help watch scenes and overall feel like we really shouldn’t treat people like shit (a lesson so many people never seem to take in) but I think the interesting thing about doing this with a character like the Joker is that I couldn’t ever block out where it was going so I couldn’t ever actually feel sympathy for him.

I thought Gotham City looked appropriately awful (why would anyone live there?) and I liked the music.

I wish they had done more with Zazie Beetz character but considering the movie I don’t think that would have come to any good. At first leaving certain elements of that story unanswered really annoyed me and took me out of the film. It made more sense at the end why they did that but I also think certain integral story decisions at the end stopped me from really liking Joker more.

Recommend: Yes. 

But while I do feel like this is an interesting film with a lot to think over and discuss including why and how we tell stories like this- I also think it’s a perfectly fine rental. If you weren’t interested in seeing it in theaters its not a must run out and watch.