Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Dante Pereira-Olson, Glenn Fleisher
Director: Todd Phillips
Release date: 4th October 2019
October 1981, in Gotham City and Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is working for a clown agency. His job for the day is holding a sign to advertise a store and all is going well. A group of kids steal his sign and a chase ensues. Arthur does his best to keep up but the boys run into an alley, where he is then jumped and viciously beaten. He returns to the home he shares with his mother, Penny. They are very close and Arthur does his best to be a good son and look after her. One day, one of the other clowns he works with gives him a gun to protect himself and Arthur at first is hesitant to take it. He does and not long after, on a job entertaining kids in a hospital, the gun falls out of his pocket. Everyone is horrified. Arthur’s boss calls him and he is sacked. At his lowest ebb, Arthur slowly begins to descend into madness and anger…
One of the main things you can say about Joaquin Phoenix is that he is a pretty intense actor, that being said, having watched his portrayal of the Joker there is probably no-one on Earth who could have done a better job. He fully inhabits the character; a man who has been failed by the system, laughed at by his ‘friends’ and colleagues and belittled by strangers. The physical changes that Phoenix has gone through for the role are incredible and you feel every beating he gets during the movie. In some ways you can kind of understand why Arthur resorts to the measures he does.
This is a career defining role for Joaquin Phoenix and probably one that will define Joker as a character in movies too. His portrayal is exceptional and it will be extremely surprising if he doesn’t win the Oscar for this performance. Yes, it is that good.
Do make sure you go and see this on a big screen. You’ll more than likely want to see it again at least once, if not multiple times. Next Oscar season should be an interesting one.