Finally, the origin story of the most controversial, beloved and critically acclaimed Batman villain of all time has released its origins movie, and let me tell you that no one could have done it as good as Joaquin Phoenix and the direction of Todd Phillips. It is truly a movie you need to watch this year if you are a fan of good cinema and criminal psychology.
This movie is not an enjoyable movie, don’t watch it if your intention is to have fun or enjoy a movie with your loved ones or friends, because you might not be in the mood for it. This movie is meant to be watched in a very serious way, because everything they talk about in here is real and it’s raw and it’s meant to be taken as an observation of the progressive mental deterioration of an individual and how society takes part in making that person lose all tangibility of what is real from what is right. I do not want anyone to watch it if they don’t have strong opinions on society or that don’t have a strict code of moral, since this movies intent is to criticize the lack of moral code in todays society and a contradiction in how you are supposed to behave in todays world. With this said, let’s go on to praise this movie.
I have to admit that when I first heard the rumors of an individual Joker movie, I wasn’t impressed, but with time, I realized how close many important and admirable actors and directors started to get attached to this project and I begin to take notice at what their intention was. It didn’t take long until it was confirmed that Robert DeNiro got attached and with him Joaquin Phoenix. This became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. This felt like a dream come true, but that wasn’t just it, when the trailer dropped, I couldn’t believe the quality of it and how interesting and innovating they were making the most famous Batman villain of all time. He seemed troubled, angry at todays society and most important of all, he seemed crazy. Well, let me just say that it is that and much much more.
Let’s go to basics, the filming of this movie is gorgeous, from the colors that they chose, to the scenery, it seems sad. Like the scenery we had in great movies like Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now, colors of despair and loneliness, but it also gives a feeling of coldness, specially since it seems that it is based on October or November in New York, but not the good parts of New York, we mean the dark, old, and poor places in New York. This further helps the story. Now, we meet our character, a troubled, negative, psychotic person who has a spontaneous laughter condition. But let me tell you that Phoenix’s performance is impeccable, he makes you believe that this man has had a few to many hits from life and that he is getting tired of it. We feel his anger and pain and his way of seeing no love amongst each other. We know what it’s like, but we also know that he is having a harder time than us. This makes everything far more touching.
I don’t want anyone to feel like I am spoiling the movie for them, so if you don’t want any spoilers, I would recommend you to stop reading from here on. Be warned.
Now, the way they introduce us this character is impeccable since we sympathize with him even when we haven’t been in his position. We know how rude some people can be and how they won’t even care if the person is trying to be kind, they will do whatever they can to crush them. But the movie starts to go downwards towards the second half, from the moment Arthur (the Joker) commits his first murder, or triple murder if you want to get technical, which actually started as self defense but ends up becoming his way of paying back to society what they have done to him. Now, his mental deterioration is what really sets the mood for this movie, since he already killed someone he has realized how easy it is and how satisfying it was, you can notice how he feels more confident by the way he dances at the bathroom (which is a majestic scene by the way). From there on you see that there is no turning back. Arthur has crossed the line between mentally unstable to aware of his insanity, he embraces his darkest thought and uses them as a refuge for his unstableness.
There are many things I can talk about, but I want to jump further towards the end, from the moment he gets the invitation to be at Murray’s night show. You understand this perfectly, since he has become this television sensation, and nowadays we know how easy it is to make it to the trending on YouTube or Twitter for stupid things like yelling at something, we know how some of these people become influencers for stupid things and how there is some demand because of their mistakes or stupid decisions. With this in mind, think how much more important it was to become famous back in the 70s or 80s. Now from this thing, we can see how important it was for Arthur to cause a bigger impact in the public, to produce total mayhem in the families, by introducing violence into their safe places, houses, homes, families. This is important, because that is the only place where we feel safe, but Arthur wants to make sure that no one feels safe at all. At first, I thought he was going to kill himself as he was practicing, but I’m glad he didn’t. This also makes an interesting point, since killing himself after admitting to have killed the three guys would have given him an easy way out, but he wasn’t looking for that, he was actually expecting to get caught, this way he was going to be able to see his legacy.
Now, without getting very deep into details, I find it very fascinating how perfectly tense the whole live show scene is made, you have the feeling that something bad is about to happen and it keeps on building up, when you find out that Arthur hasn’t played his joke the way that he was practicing you know that something worst is about to happen. That whole monolog that Arthur and Murray have is what really gives the whole movie power, on one side, you think try to put yourself on Arthur’s shoes, where he says that there is no love and people just argue and yell at each other, no one stops to help someone who has been robbed or who is beaten up, the worst part is that he is right, but it doesn’t give you the right to take justice to your own hands. He makes his point when he says that Murray, a famous popular character who seems to be the kind of guy you can have a lot of fun with, is just as bad. That leaves you to think, if he really is just as bad for trying to make fun of people, are we any better? Can we actually say that we don’t deserve any kind of “justice” to fall upon us? Are we safe from this ideology? The answer is no, because from the perspective of such an unlucky character everyone falls short to how bad they are doing, and this is the real enemy, the people who accept their part in society as the outlaws who have to make justice happen to the must “lucky” people.
After Joker shoots Murray we cut to a scene where every television news cast is talking about the murder of Murray and trying to understand the person who did it. This further proves exactly what Joker said before shooting Murray, “During my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed, but I do, and people are starting to notice”, and the media is giving these kind of people even more spark to become important, and to openly state their believes and opinions, they are being heard and this is what causes so many loners and misfits to come out and express themselves freely, because they are being heard.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this review. Tell me what you think of this movie. What was your reaction? I’m planning on reviewing with spoilers some of the movies that I consider to have controversial content or complicated context, what do you think?
What should I review next? Tell me in the comment section below and let’s have a discussion.