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Joaquin Pheonix's riveting performance, and Todd Philips expert craftsmanship makes Joker unforgettable and deeply troubling.

/movies/768908/joker
Review of Joker
by atclubsilencio
Posted on November 2nd, 2019
Positive 10
Overall Rating
 
+


Story: 9

An expertly crafted descent into one man's psychological deterioration.

pitch-black, all consuming, and deeply chilling portrait of a progressively deteriorating mind and a society descending into chaos. As over the top as it may seem, it is chilling in that it is not far off or even implausible. The mental health system is a flawed and sometimes outright dismissive, while class relations get more tense every day. Joker gets all of this right with horrifying accuracy.

Visuals: 10

Todd Philips finally reaches auteur status.

Todd Philips, with the artfully chaotic cinematography by Lawrence Sher, bring a seedy depth to Gotham. It is at once familiar and in a heightened state of reality. Philips finally proves his chops as a filmmaker with a clear and exact vision. While Jeff Groth's editing throws you in the madness of both Arthur's state of mind, the the society around him. It's alchemy is overwhelming.

Sound: 9

A melancholic score with some choice soundtrack picks, all of which adding to the immersion.

Hildur Gudnadottir delivers yet another rattling score, much like her work on Chernobyl. It's reflective, mirroring and enhancing the story being told. At times forlorn, other times booming and overwhelming, further adding to the immersion. It's a haunting work and another exquisite element to the proceedings. It also features one of the best uses of Rock and Roll Part II ever. 

Character: 10

Phoenix gives yet another career-best performance, in a career filled with many.

Phoenix is typically brilliant. Such a full-formed, and rich character, that he completely inhabits both physically and spiritually. His arc is so wonderfully executed, and he offers up a completely original take on the iconic villain. While I hope he gets justice awards season, the only reason he'd lose out is for political reasons. DeNiro also adds some nice support, though his screen time is brief.

Enjoyment: 9

A fall into despair has never been so electrifying.

While Joker doesn't make for "enjoyable" viewing. It's refreshingly bleak and doesn't pull any punches. Violence is used sparingly, making it all the more shocking and unsettling when it finally does occur. This is a film that gets nearly every aspect correct, it absorbs you into its world, as well as a very diseased but empathetic mind, constantly upping the stakes with a delicious slow burn before ferociously changing gears in the final stretch. Controversial, confrontational, perversely funny, and all together fascinating, this is one of top 5 best films of the year. Just make sure you're in the right mind set before watching. Among the most unique films to come out this year. Worth watching if only for the discussions it will provoke, and for Phoenix's towering performance.

atclubsilencio
I'm a lifelong film junkie and employee at an art house theater. Basically, I see a lot of movies.
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