Joker (2019) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
What is so stunning about “Joker” is the thorough depiction of human condition at its deepest core. We are chilled by the fact that “Joker” is not a mere villain on comic book, but rather a result of the context and surrounding from traumatised childhood abuse to growing up with a hideous uncontrollable laughter to constant battle with mental illness. We get a full picture of a character that is ultimately disturbed, but we understand his motivations and how he became what he is. The juxtaposition of the current Hong Kong situation and that of Gotham remains startling and even chilling to sit through.
Joaquin Phoenix produces a powerhouse of a performance worthy for his next Oscars as he provides a deep insight into the making of the “Joker”. Such is the captivating display that the audience remains completely glued to the screen with an almost intoxicating experience. As Phoenix dance away with a brutal clown face, we reflect on our own evils and sick mindset, it’s performance that powerful and persuasive. If “Joker is a figure that inspired the mass protests and killings in Gotham, it simply was a catalyst of a society broken and the system totally failing. Robert De Niro appears as the night talk show host and makes it a truly memorable one.
All in all, “Joker” resembles a society where crimes and chaos are part and parcel with the state of the law and division between wealth and the poor. As the gap widens, a simple trigger of an abnormal event becomes a breaking point as the killings and protests take over. Director Todd Phillips brings a vivid and gritty world of dystopia and make use of the streets of New Jersey to excellent effect. We live in a crazy world today and like “Joker” we don’t have much of a choice and perhaps best summed up with “I thought my life was a tragedy but then I learned it was a comedy.”
I rated 9/10