Photo via Warner Bros. Pictures
I have always been a fan of movies. Mostly, just to sit back and enjoy my time watching something put to screen. As I got older, I began to appreciate the art form of cinema, which is why I am minoring in cinema studies. The technical aspects of film do not garner the appreciation that I believe they deserve, which is why I am here to talk about the most unique cinematic experience of my life: Todd Phillips’ Joker.
Let’s get right into Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the Joker. This is one of the all-time great standalone performances of the millennium, if not ever. To me, it is right up there with Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, and dare I say it, Heath Ledger’s immaculate portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
There are so many different emotions that you will feel as you watch Phoenix. At points, you will feel heartbroken, horrified, mesmerized, and there are scenes where you laugh but you know you should not be because of the routes that are taken in his ongoing character development.
There is not one second of this film that feels wasted. Every single moment feels like a canvas being painted slowly and steadily to the point that it feels like you are watching it be created in real-time.
The technical side of this film, outside of Phoenix’s performance, is the most enthralling thing about it. As someone who is a perfectionist when it comes to photography and being as patient as possible to get the perfect shot on a given day, I cannot praise and appreciate Lawrence Sher’s camera work enough. From the 1970s look of the film to the color palettes and to the tone of specific scenes, each shot serves a meaningful purpose and feels like its own character telling the story.
The dynamics of certain relationships throughout the film are some of the most devastating and gut-wrenching ever put onto screen.
Certain scenes make you feel as though you are actually a part of the movie and watching these events take place live, which makes you feel uneasy and that is actually how I wanted to feel in this movie that describes itself as a psychological thriller. It is so much more than that.
This movie is a horror film. It depicts the vilest forms of human beings, beautifully contrasting the gorgeous cinematography with some brutally violent and disturbing scenes that will leave you with her jaw dropped to the floor.
These disturbing moments are carried by a haunting score from composer, Hildur Guonadóttir. It is not your clichéd score backed with heavy bass to cue a scene approaching. It is led heavily by an abrasive horn section that adds on to your nerves and makes you feel as though you should not be watching the ongoing events.
I cannot stress this enough. Do not let mainstream media scare you away from this film. Apparently, people forget that films are meant to draw you away from reality and into an entirely fictional world. That is the whole point of cinema and, especially, comic book adaptations.
This film was never going to steer away from moments that may disturb people. Risks need to be taken in order for a film to stand out from the rest of the field. Phillips could have easily played it safe and just have made another standard DC Comics film, but then what would justify its existence?
This review will not do this movie justice, which is why I highly recommend you go buy a ticket and support original creations, such as this. This is one of those rare moments in cinematic history where every moviegoer is going to have a completely different experience and interpretation than the person sitting right next to them.
Please, go see Joker. As time goes on, I think this movie will earn higher and higher praise and be bookmarked as a standout moment for cinema. I truly believe that. I loved this movie.
Rating: 10/10………Instant Classic