Joker (2019) Movie Review


Image credit goes to Warner Bros.

Olivia Macneil, Staff Writer

Directed by Todd Phillips, the new 2019 drama/thriller film “Joker” dives into the slow downfall of Arthur Fleck’s (played by Joaquin Phoenix) mental state. Feeling isolated and disregarded by society, Arthur turns to his alter ego, “Joker,” towards the end of the film to commit a number of violent crimes which he gets worshiped for by others who have the same feelings as him. Despite it receiving an 8.8/10 rating on IMDb, the film has been in quite the controversy before and after its release, with critics and concerned parents calling it “dangerous”.  Others, however, have their concerns regarding the 2012 Colorado shooting massacre that occurred when “The Dark Knight Rises” was playing. The controversy stirred up quite a bit of concern, however the film has grossed an astonishing $737.5 million worldwide. Just how good- or bad- is “Joker” really?

The film follows the history of the DC comic’s superhero Batman’s arch nemesis, but focuses more on what happened before Joker spiraled into madness. Joker’s real name is Arthur Fleck, who is social reject in the eyes of the society around him; this is portrayed countless times in the film. Fleck lives with his mother (played by Frances Conroy) in 1981 Gotham City. For reference, imagine 80’s New York City, but with more violence and crimes. A ton more violence and crimes.

The cinematography in Joker is nothing less than astonishing. It’s almost as if the camera becomes a key character in telling the story. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher explained that he wanted to visually show the audience Fleck’s mental deterioration and isolation from society. Sher told Forbes that “we looked for opportunities where he was a small figure in a large space…Ways to psychologically draw us into this man who was almost invisible in this city.”  It’s often said that in the film world, the camera is a man’s best friend, and this rule applies to Joker.

Watching Fleck’s descent into madness is unsettling, to say the least. While this film may not be for everybody (especially not made for children), it should be praised for its beautiful cinematography and the effort the cast and crew put into making such a beautiful film.