Psychotic Brilliance, or Asylum worthy?
When you watch a film which is as brilliant as Joker is, its hard to put into words and truly convey your feelings.
Let me start by saying that the Joker has always been a fantastic character. Arguably the best DC Comics character of them all. I’ve never read the comics, but purely based on the films alone, from Cesar Romero, through Jack Nicholson, Heath Slater and Jared Leto we arrive at Joaquin Phoenix in what will be a career defining role for him, that much is guaranteed. The Joker’s level of crazy has gone through somewhat of a change over the years. Romero’s cartoonish madman in the original Batman TV series and 1966 film was outlandish in a very child friendly way. Nicholson’s clown was always my Joker. The one I grew up with and loved. Very much a product of Tim Burton, he was madcap but dark in equal measures. Things really stepped up however in the Dark Knight when the late Heath Ledger but in the performance of his entire career before his unfortunate death. Jared Leto easily the weakest of them all with only a short amount of screentime in the unsatisfactory Suicide Squad (but lets face it, most of the focus on that film was about Harley Quinn).
So where does Joaquin’s Joker stack up? Well for me, he goes right in at the top level. The best of the five in a film which can only be described as a psychological evaluation of a lunatic building towards all out anarchic tendancies. It’s no coincidence that the whole film is almost bookended with Joker being evaluated by a professional at differing times of his journey.
Because we’re following his devolution into insanity, the film is rather slow paced in the opening 90 minutes, before hitting a crescendo of crazy in the last 30 minutes that pays off everything absolutely beautifully. For this film to work on the level it does, it needs that slow build and the expectation of the snap happening at any point…and when it does come, it comes in style.
Go see this in the cinema, get the full effect of it. Marvel at Phoenix’s performance and get ready to enjoy the film of 2019 for me.
Is that Oscar calling?