Joker (2019) ?
Watching Joker is like watching the mentally ill man at the corner of 14th and U who is behaving erratically and you don’t know what he’s going to do next. So you keep watching to see what will happen. And you keep watching, and watching, and watching despite the horrible things you see. You see him ignored, beat up, treated poorly, and then…he acts out. And acts out, and acts out. But while he’s acting out, it’s the happiest you’ve ever seen him. So is his behavior really so bad?
That might be a tough question to answer, so let’s answer this one instead: Is Joker fun to watch? Well, that’s up for debate. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a masterful performance, embodying depression and psychosis like a baby wears a onesie. He sulks. He wallows. He presents that signature Joker chuckle and laughs uncontrollably at all the wrong times. He’s an unnerving psychopath, behaving in ways that make you feel icky and uncomfortable, and you should. He is, after all, a walking uncontrolled mental illness. But you can’t look away, and that’s what makes Joker worth seeing. ?
At the end, you’ll leave the theater seeing something you’ve never seen before, from a viewpoint far less celebrated than a hero. Joker is unashamed and lays it all on the table. It’s scored ironically, shot beautifully and is well cast even beyond Phoenix. Don’t see it on a first date. Don’t see it if you love feel good movies. See it if you love DC Comics and Batman/Joker conspiracies. See it if you like to see the bad guy on top. With Joker, you’ll never be able to predict the next scene. ?
Joker, a wretched and uncomfortable 3 of 4 stars. ⭐️⭐️?