The Joker – a film review

For today, within the tradition of good holiday film binging, let’s hit the #MovieMonday hashtag. Below is my review of The Joker – a DC Comics-character-based film that has nothing to do with DC Comics aesthetics.

I unconsciously skipped the film when it first came to cinemas, knowing that the character is the green-haired weirdly-grinning figure of a supervillain bred in the DC universe. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a nicely-made comic strip. It’s simply that I get tired of extra loud and extra violent films where stories hang by a thin thread and abundant sound, visual and make-up effects.

Then, I got convinced to watch it by a colleague whose pitch was: “No, not at all, the film is really good, it’s nothing to do with DC Comics.” She went on to tell me it was a troubling experience, so I got interested even more deeply. I watched it and I loved it.

To start the film review proper, I would like to highlight the central star in it. Joaquin Phoenix makes a striking appearance. I was deeply touched with his part, and he contributes dramatically to the general effect the film had on me. His crooked shape, haggard face, his voice and the way he moves – they all made for an amazing presence throughout the film at the same time telling the character story.

Most of the time, I sympathised with Arthur Fleck (the screen name of this Joker version), I felt bad for him and had a bitter taste of the weird unlucky combination of circumstance and choices in his film life. Without too many words, loneliness and isolation were made evident. The following disturbing actions that seemed without any cause made me think of the hopeless struggle a person has with mental illness. As a psychologist, I know that plenty of people go through such troubles and unpleasant issues without going the direction Arthur took. As a student in mental illnesses, I know that what mentally healthy persons can overcome through their inner motivation and emotional maturity, can be the end of reason for a fragile person.

If you want to see a good psychological portrayal of a fall, if you enjoy a good character study and you savour good cinematography, The Joker is an excellent option for you.