'Joker' Review (No Spoilers)
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This isn't gonna be an essay. It's going to be more of a review and disjointed thoughts on the movie. And I hesitate to call it a movie because I think of Joker more as cinema. Not in a pretentious way. Just that it's not your usual movie. This is old school, let's-tell-an-interesting-story film-making. It ain't some MCU, shiny, joke-fueled romp. (Those are great BTW!) Joker is more of a moody, thought-provoking piece of art. That's fucking cool too.
Someone finally decided to take the character of the Joker and do a deep dive. A realistic look at how a person turns out to be a villain like Joker. (DC comics did it ages ago in a graphic novel called Killing Joke. Great stuff. And low and behold, it's wonderful.
Todd Phillips simply crushed it. I'm gonna shower some affection on that dude because he set the whole thing up. He's the captain. And he did beyond great. He put together an outstanding team of artists.
So many winners here.
Joaquin Phoenix is amazing. There's gonna be a lot of Oscar talk for this dude and he deserves all of it. Not sure what other competition there's gonna be when awards season rolls around but as of right now? Joaquin is the favorite. Go see the movie. There is so much going on behind his eyes. Sure there's insane physical commitment to the role. There's an incredible script. (Always helps when you have great words to say.) But Mr. Phoenix takes it to a whole different level. It would be so easy to go big. Go crazy. Go crazy big! But Phoenix internalizes and draws us in. So quiet. Making the big moments that much bigger. It's as if Joker is a shocked as we are at the insanity.
The set director and wardrobe people get Oscars. This movie feels like it was made in 1980 and released this weekend. I cannot stress this enough. It's incredible. Every frame looked REAL. Looked like 1980. When you can fool the audience for 2 hours? Never once slip? Fucking hell! That's amazing!
I promised no spoilers and I'll stick to it. All the performances are great. Joker steals it. Every moment with that dude on screen is fantastic. The score is wonderful. The music adds tension and mood without being distracting.
This is a flick I'm gonna wanna watch again and dissect. I could blather on about shots and framing but that's boring AF. Not gonna do it here.
Some reviewers are talking about the politics of this thing. Again, that's not my jam. If it was the centerpiece? I'd go for it. In my opinion it's just a really good origin story. Like REALLY good. No corners were cut. Nobody sold out. It didn't go through the Disney treatment. They had serious subject matter and they treated it thusly. Hats off to everyone involved. You told a good story and made a great piece of cinema.
I'll close with this.
THIS is why comic fans like me are so vocal. We KNOW these are great stories. WE KNOW IT. When you take these stories seriously they work. EVERY TIME. They don't all have to be dark and brooding. Just take it seriously and chances are you'll end up with something wonderful. Richard Donner's Superman. Christopher Nolan's Batman films and now Todd Phillips's Joker. It's not rocket science. It's called storytelling.
-- The Mgmt