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Sunday, October 6, 2019


Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks -- the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he's part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.
Director: Todd Phillips

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, Marc Maron

Release Date: October 4, 2019

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images

Runtime: 2 h 2 min


After watching a bit of Todd Phillip’s Joker you get the strong feeling that Phillip’s really hopes that you’ve never seen Taxi Driver.  To say that he mines that particular film seems like a understatement since there are multiple direct references to it through out.  Needless to say, Phillip’s film isn’t as groundbreaking as it thinks it is.  The story of a disaffected loner pushed to the edge is story that’s been told multiple times particularly in Taxi Driver or the underappreciated Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer.  The film can stand on its own merit with some wonderfully composed shots that really leave you feeling grimy and dirty.  Ultimately though, the gas in this particular vehicle is Joaquin Phoenix who throws himself into the roles with such intensity that it’s hard to look away.  His performance elevates the material and makes the whole thing much more prestigious and watchable than it deserves to be.  As for the story, it’s an interesting take on this character but it’s hard to tell if Phillip’s wants us to root for character or despise him.  Nearing the finale you get a sense that Phillip’s is propping him up as a sort of hero of madness and chaos which is a strange message to send in a film like this even as some of the more ham fisted attempts at modern day relevancy fall flat.  It’s certainly a film that will draw plenty of discussion even though it’s really a shadow of better films.  


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