Truthfully, this film isn’t for entertainment, this is for film geeks and people who appreciate well produced movies. This movie is made for people who recognize skill and talent and aspects of what makes a good film. It’s for film lovers. This is no superhero film and that’s not what you should go in expecting.

In terms of cinematography this film shines bright, from the very first shot to the very last shot. I loved the use of large yellow stylistic print which adds character to the film. This movie is extremely sinister, it’s dark, there are twists and turns as you watch this man's life fall apart and deteriorate before your eyes. Additionally, the use of colour and at times lack of colour is very important to the story. We see a lot of dark tones and little colour then when he is at his idea of his best we see more colour. For example, when he is standing at the curtain ready to go onto the Murray show or when he dyes his hair bright green. The music used enhances the pure hopelessness and sorrow of the character. In parts of the film it gets really loud and ominous when he is walking down the hall or alone, which adds to the overall tone of the story.

Joaquin Phoenix is the shining star of this film. He perfectly embodies everything the Joker is and should be. Phoenix takes the character to a level you could never imagine and if he does not win best actor at this years’ Oscars, I don’t know what will. You feel like you know everything about Arthur Fleck, like you understand his true feelings, and then the film reveals you never knew how truly dark he was actually feeling, and you could never in your crazed imagination picture yourself in his shoes. Yet, you create a personal connection to a character so sinister, evil, and psychopathic. It almost makes you question your own sanity. It’s unsettling really. This man has the most extreme cases of mental illness and it highlights his struggles. He keeps falling further and has no one to go to. Arthur thinks he has his mom to go to, she is his biggest supporter. When he finds out that he was actually adopted and his mom supposedly allowed him to be brutally assaulted and mistreated as a child, he doesn’t trust her anymore. It makes him feel even more alone than before. He goes as far as to murder his own mother, whom I believe was the last straw bringing him to complete insanity.

When his friends from his old place of work come to cheer him up after his mother’s death, he brutally murders his friend Randall. It seems unprovoked and simply random, as if he was just in the mood for it. The scene is disturbing to say the least and extremely violent, very Quentin Tarentino of the writers. After he murders Randall, Arthur has a light hearted, not aggressive conversation with his other friend Gary, whom witnessed the murder and is mortified. He is scared for his life and the first thing Arthur asks him about is if he watches a talk show.

When he originally kills the three wall street men on the subway, it was out of revenge because they have the life he only wishes he had. Arthur uses the attention the subway murders gets as justification for his actions and makes him feel like he isn’t alone. It’s this aspect we see in the end of the film where he stands and dances on the police car taking in the applause. He is adored, he is no longer the guy who feels isolated from the rest of society. This is his story of redemption over society for how they have treated him and ignored him. He felt like no one listened to him as highlighted when he is meeting with his social worker and tells her “you don’t listen, do you?”. He is frustrated with life and how the underclass is not represented. But, it’s not even the political issues he is really bothered by. He uses the political issues to gain a platform and appeal to the desperation of the people. One part that really stood out to me was when Arthur is seen smoking outside the hospital and the police come to question him. They ask him about the subway murders and the gun he brought to the children’s hospital. Arthur lies to them with ease and seems unfazed by their questioning.

Another interesting aspect of the character comes from his relationship with the lady from the elevator. Throughout the film Arthur develops a romantic relationship with this woman who lives down the hall. She comes to his standup show, she comes to the hospital with him to see his sick mother, she is someone who supports him. It is later revealed that their relationship was fabricated in his head. In reality they had no relationship at all, and he imagines a whole part of his life with her. After watching this movie a second time you pick up on how Arthur acts around her, and how it’s almost ‘normal’. He knows what to say to her, he knows how to make her laugh, she believes that people shouldn’t care so much about the men he killed on the subway (reassuring him that his actions were justified). She acts how he would want her to where she is supportive of him and his goal of becoming a comedian. When she comes over to his apartment she calls him funny, which is what Arthur always wanted to hear because people don’t get his dark jokes.

It begs the question how much was real and how much was simply Arthur’s imagination. This can be applied to even the entirety of the movie, was the whole thing one big hallucination? A question I’ve heard asked about the plot is did Arthur kill the girl from the elevator? And what about her daughter? This was likely sparked by his use of the hand gesture of a finger gun pointing the gun at his head. Were they victims of the Joker’s murderous trail.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this film as I believe that this is a masterpiece in the film industry as there is nothing else like it. This film will go down as one of the defining movies of this year. However, I would also advise that this film is very depressing and hard to watch at times due to how disturbing the content is. This film allows the viewer to think critically and make connections they would never expect to make going into this movie.


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