Growing up in an age post the ‘golden era’ of film making, we’ve often heard people from previous generations rave about cinematic masterpieces like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and the likes.
Our millennial selves have had films to boast about as well, but rarely do we come across a film so brilliant that it changes the course of cinematic history as we know it. Joker is that rare gem that tightly packs everything — brilliant acting, cinematography, writing, music, and so much more.
Having just watched Joker, all I’d say is go experience this film. Rarely do you come across a film where the audience stands up in the end to applaud the art.
Certainly an Oscar-worthy performance by Joaquin Phoenix.
Before the film even hit screens, one knew that this was going to be one of the biggest feathers in Joaquin Phoenix’s cap. His outstanding ‘Oscar-worthy’ performance truly surpassed the legacy of Heath Ledger’s Dark Knight rendition of the Joker. You feel his every emotion, yet you’re still afraid of his unpredictability.
His performance not only delves deep into the character itself but also gives an insight into what mental health can manifest into if not kept in check. It is a social commentary on how outer appearances are essential for human connection in the world we live in. And that if you’re different or suffer from a condition that doesn’t allow you to maintain a facade, you are shunned from society. The film is a cautionary tale of what can become of those who society shuns only because they’re different, flawlessly exhibited by Phoenix.
While you do tend to empathise with his never-ending tragedy, you still don’t forgive him for his crimes. And that in itself demonstrates what an outstanding film this is.
The storytelling gets you invested, whether you’re a comic fan or not.
Among comicbook villains, Joker stands out due to his glaringly ambiguous past. His origins are controversial and aren’t really decisive owing to its unreliable narrator — the Joker himself. The film marvellously tells his story while still retaining the ambiguous essence. It is carefully crafted storytelling at its best. Yet it retains the chaos that is at the core of the Joker’s persona.
It is a brilliant film no doubt. But what makes Joker even better is how it doesn’t intertwine itself too deep into regular DC trappings. Even if you’re not buried into comicbook fandom, the film is still a standalone masterpiece.
The film is a visually stunning piece of art.
Although set in Gotham City of the 80s, the film could very well have been a reflection of a later time. With its glaring wealth disparity and ostracisation of those socially and mentally weaker than the rest, the film poses a self-reflection of sorts for the times we live in.
The stunning visuals with gritty undertones set the dark tonality of the film. And the background score is certainly the cherry on the neatly put-together icing.
Gotham City is also a character in itself and every aspect of it tells us how it could have nurtured the madness of Joker — by not letting him escape the cycle of abuse. His mental illness and his rapid decline into becoming a full-blown sociopath is clearly visible throughout the film and the city, with its citizens, clearly have a role to play in it.
We’re lucky to have gotten this film in our lifetime and we’ll certainly be talking about this Oscar-worthy cinematic brilliance for years to come. Don’t miss this generation’s cinematic cult classic.