Join me in being completely disturbed, intrigued, in awe, and frightened of Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker in this new teaser trailer.
Joaquin Phoenix is the face that’s taken on countless deeply broken characters and figures in his past movies. Take a look at his performances as Commodus in Gladiator, Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, sex-obsessed veteran in The Master, or even cripplingly lonely Theodore in Her and you’ll quickly realise this man was the ideal fit to play the Joker.
As Batman’s greatest rival and everyone’s favourite villain, we’ve seen quite a few reimagining’s of his character. Who could forget the legendary status Heath Ledger secured for himself after his portrayal of the Joker, following Jack Nicholson’s performance, and more recently the slightly more psychotic Joker by Jared Leto. All with quite mixed reviews from audiences, I might add.
If you’d like my opinion, Ledger’s Joker was my personal favourite. As was Christian Bale’s Batman that triumphed over Ben Affleck’s lacklustre performance. But we’re not here to talk about Batman.
It’s no secret Phoenix definitely had some large shoes to fill, particularly after his casting was met with confusion as Leto’s Joker was still quite fresh in our minds with just one Joker film under his belt (Suicide Squad).
Director Tod Phillips said casting for the lead role was simple as it was always intended to be for Phoenix. He told Empire:
“I think he’s the greatest actor. We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”
Spoiler alert: Joaquin actually did it.
The film has since received incredible reviews, alongside Phoenix’s hauntingly beautiful performance which has already been hailed a masterpiece.
Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it received a whopping 8-minute standing ovation and special cheers reserved for Phoenix’s name that appeared in the end credits.
GameSpot gave the film a 10/10 review, calling it: “wonderfully fresh, dangerously exciting, undeniably entertaining, and rock-solid in its artistry.”
The Guardian went as far as to praise it a ‘gloriously daring and explosive film…a tale that’s almost as twisted as the man at its centre, bulging with ideas and pitching towards anarchy.”
Despite the fact that the Joker as had countless backstories written in the 70 years of comics that have included him, the character has never actually received an origin story in film. With the exception of the very brief one given in The Dark Knight, of course.
Director Phillips confirmed the film is unique in that it doesn’t concern itself with the details cemented in comic books.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man,” Phillips said.
I, myself, am pretty excited about the prospects of an origin story that is entirely unique and never been seen before. Particularly one that has been this well received thus far.
Joker star, Zazie Beetz who plays the cynical Sophie Dumond and possible love interest to the Clown Prince of Crime, revealed that the creation of the script was anything but ordinary.
“The script was great. We rewrote the whole thing while we were shooting it. Literally, we would go into Todd’s trailer and write the scene for the night and then do it. During hair and makeup we’d memorise those lines and then do them and then we’d reshoot that three weeks later,” Beetz told MTV News.
Much to my own relief, Phillips confirmed the film is R-rated. Which means we don’t have to worry about pivotal themes and scenes being chopped to appeal to a lower rating. Much like Sony’s Venom that completely flopped after it was initially expected to be an R-rated film; only to be released under a flat, lifeless PG-13 rating.
Anyone else hear maximum ticket sales over quality content?
Warner Brothers described the film as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.’ As we follow Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), we see him divulge into complete mental collapse as the world continues to grind him down.
I know you’re all wondering about one vital detail, just as I was. We can confirm that Phoenix’s Joker laugh is undeniably chilling, ear-piercingly haunting, and unmatched.
He nailed it, folks.
IGN elaborated, saying: “Arthur’s uncontrollable laughter looks as though it physically pains him; his body is rail-thin and battered, his misery is etched on his deeply creased face. Phoenix captures all these tiny nuances in Arthur and his interactions with others that reveal so much about this disturbed individual’s inner life.”
JOKER is set to be released in Australia on October 4th 2019.
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