Joaquin Phoenix rises above expectations in his role as Joker

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Niko Tavernise | Warner BrothersJoker has been criticized for its violent scenes, being the first live-action theatrical Batman film to have a R-rating.

Ana Duran

When beginning to think about famous superhero villains, it is without doubt that the Joker will immediately come to mind. Though the Joker is mainly associated with Batman, Todd Phillips’ Joker differentiates itself from any past Batman film or comic.

Joker is a film about the origin of the infamous anti-hero. The film takes place in Gotham City in the 1980’s. The city is full of corruption, trash, rats and with the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer.

Arthur Fleck is a man who lives a rough life working as a clown and dreams of becoming a comedian. He always comes face-to-face with pain both mentally and physically. He is no stranger to being beat up and getting ridiculed.

Arthur also struggles with mental illnesses and a neurotic condition that causes him to have random laughing outbreaks at inconvenient times.

The audience watches as Arthur slowly begins to embrace is anger with everything and become the Joker we know.

Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker was astonishing and compelling. Phoenix completely captivates the audience with the way his emotions are shown throughout the film. 

Every single emotion that Arthur expressed is felt and viewers are able to sympathize with him. It is outstanding how these emotions sort of fill up and consume the screen. 

Viewers are left wanting to cheer for Arthur yet feel super uncomfortable while watching the film develop.

It is not only the emotion that Phoenix radiates as Arthur that made his performance prominent, his physical appearance is what put the icing on the cake. 

What makes Joker memorable is the way that Arthur’s frail and thin body is able to move. One main trait that is seen all throughout the film is dance. This is where some of the uneasiness comes from. 

Watching his every move and exposed bones move fluidly yet gracefully makes any viewer feel a bit uneasy yet completely captivated.

Along with Phoenix’s magnificent acting in Joker, the cinematography was absolutely brilliant. The sets were beautifully designed and really added a haunting element to the overall tone of the film. 

Once Arthur turns into the Joker, things begin to appear a bit brighter through the use of semi-vibrant colors for the signature Joker three-piece suit and even the settings are seen to be a bit brighter than before.

The main highlight of the film as a whole is the fact that it is not trying to be anything else. Joker was created to be gruesome, depressing and unsettling and it does exactly that. 

It shows the raw and harsh reality that Arthur is living through which then causes him to snap and, in some ways, it parallels present day issues. 

This detail is what may have caused a fear of having Arthur portrayed in a light that may make incels believe the character may be a figure to look up to due to shared characteristics.

Hildur Guðnadóttir’s work on creating the score for Joker also helped elevate the film. Though some of the songs featured in the film appear to be happy and uplifting, they are not. Guðnadóttir’s composed a score that matches Arthur’s walking disaster vibe, ready to destroy everything he encounters. It fits perfectly and adds on to the unsettling tone of the film.

Joker proves to bring together loneliness and tragedy and create a powerful origin story of an iconic villain.

Philips beautifully executed this film and it is no wonder why the film won the Golden Lion and received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. This film proved that it deserves all the praise and acclamation it has been receiving.