‘Joker’ is no joke

Joaquin Phoenix impresses in latest superhero villan thriller.


Star Tribune photo illustration

Joaquin Phoenix dances down the staircase in “Joker.”

Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian searches Gotham City in desperate need to find any form of acceptance. 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, traumatized, and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mind known as the Joker.


Many may recognize the notorious villain, the Joker, from the many “Batman” movies released in the past. Although, this stand-alone movie about a renowned villain dives deeper into the origin story and character development of the Joker. 

“Joker” does an amazing job at toying with your emotions throughout the film. It evokes pathos in the most terrifying way that even leads to people getting up and leaving the theater. Many couldn’t bear the dark essence of the main character turning into a mentally crazy, and rabid killer resulting in many online complaints about the movie’s message and whether or not people should be further warned about the extreme content. “Several people took to Twitter to call out the “horrible” movie, saying how they’ve been left terrified while watching,” said Chloe Rowland from the Twentytwowords news website. I thought the movie was quite dark, although the emotional attraction gave significant meaning to a lot of the dark content presented in the movie. 


“Joker” is critically acclaimed for its strong cinematography done by Lawrence Sher. Its use of intense lighting and strong music almost makes you feel like you are stuck in your chair. Sher used lighting and camera tricks that gave “Joker” its unique look. They also worked around Joaquin Phoenix’s leg injury, used various cameras and lenses, filmed subway scenes with LED projection technology, and a whole lot more. Sher did a good job of using different compelling film elements to better portray the main character sinking character into darkness through the film. “Joker” was also nominated for the Golden Lion award which is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival. 

The actor who played the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, took the starring role and did an outstanding job at accurately portraying the character development of the Joker. It was assumed that if there were to be a Joker movie, the assumed actor for the lead role would be Heath Ledger. Ledger played the starring role of Joker in the popular Dark Knight series, but sadly passed away due to cardiac arrest caused by a drug overdose while filming the movie “Dark Knight.” On the bright side, Joaquin Phoenix does a fantastic job of giving the viewer a front seat experience at the mentally deranged character sinking lower and lower into his demise defeat. 

Overall, I would give the Joker an 8/10 review. It’s engaging cinematography and jaw-dropping film elements give the production of the film a 10/10. Many don’t like the storyline because of its loose structure, however, the director’s intentions were to allow the audience in the shoes of a mentally deranged psychopath. For the casual viewer of the movie, I would rate the story itself a 7/10. On the other hand, the acting was top notch. Not many people can pull off the difficult part of playing the Joker. Because of Joaquin Phoenix’s impressive work, I would rate the acting a 9/10.