Joker

A Lantern staffer takes an in depth look at Joker.

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Joker

Jared Leto protrays Joker in the new joker movie.

Jared Leto protrays Joker in the new joker movie.

Los Angeles Times

Jared Leto protrays Joker in the new joker movie.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Jared Leto protrays Joker in the new joker movie.

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 On paper, Joker is a film that should never have worked. It’s a DC property who is the company behind the characters of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and many more. Many agree that their pictures have been decreasing in quality ever since the end of The Dark Knight trilogy. Its director, Todd Phillips, had only made critically panned crude comedy films beforehand like  The Hangover trilogy, so needless to say many were skeptical of his abilities to direct a film like this. It also took a lot of plot and character ideas from the Martin Scorsese features Taxi Driver and King of Comedy, so it wasn’t very original.The few things it had going for it were its composer, Hildur Guonadottir, and the powerhouse performer of Joaquin Phoenix. Against all odds, this movie managed to become one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, the highest-grossing R rated film of all time, won 2 golden globes, and received an astonishing 11 Oscar nominations.

Without Arthur Fleck being portrayed by Phoenix, I am almost certain that this film would not have been as good as it many people think it is. Even before this movie was announced, I was an avid fan of Phoenix. I thought he was one of the best actors of this generation and this performance proves that he most definitely is. The transformation of his body and the research he put into this character is absolutely insane as well as dangerous. He lost 52 lbs for the role and has stated that constantly being in the state of mind of Arthur Fleck made him feel extremely lonely and depressed. He took a subpar script and turned it into something nobody else could have. Phoenix shouldn’t be the only one to receive credit for this though, there’s also the director Todd Phillips, composer Hildur Guonadottir, and cinematographer Lawerence Sher. The scene I feel best captures this is the scene where Arthur slow dances in the bathroom after commiting a crime. This originally wasn’t in the script and something else was planned for the scene but both Phoenix and Phillips knew that what was written wasn’t something the character would do, so they improvised a beautiful slow dance and Sher and Guonadottir both knocked it out of the park working on an improvised scene. 

In a technical aspect, the film is nothing less than amazing. The haunting musical score is so memorable and clear as to what it’s trying to express. The heavy use of strings really convey the somber and unsettling tone that the film was trying to achieve. The cinematography in this film complements the score very nicely with atmospheric shots. It really gives you the scale of how large Gotham is as a city and how alone Arthur feels. This all wouldn’t have been possible without Phillips surprisingly amazing direction which shows a lot of promise for his future.

It’s not just the greatest movie of the year, it’s the greatest movie of all time.”

— Jordan Dolan

The film isn’t without its controversy though, at its release many news sources claimed it glamorized and wanted to create violence, which is what director Phillips has stated was the exact opposite of his message. It has also polarized many with whether it’s a masterpiece or one of the worst film experiences they’ve ever had. Differing opinions of the film can even be seen in our own school. Senior Jordan Dolan exclaims, “It’s not just the greatest movie of the year, it’s the greatest movie of all time.”On the other hand, junior Hailey Newinski says “I wasn’t the biggest fan of the new joker movie. I didn’t think it had a very good attention-grabbing feature to it. However, I really enjoyed the main character who played the joker.” 

Overall, Joker isn’t a masterpiece, mostly due to a script that has a habit of over-explaining things. However, this film should be seen as a calling card for everyone involved that they are someone to keep an eye on in the future.