Saturday, October 12, 2019

Smile and Put On a Happy Face

“The year’s biggest disappointment has arrived. It emerges with weirdly grownup self-importance from the tulip fever of festival awards season as an upscale spin on an established pop culture brand” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. 

"Joker is a bad movie, yes: It’s predictable, clichéd, deeply derivative of other, better movies, and overwritten to the point of self-parody… The experience of sitting through it is highly unpleasant, but that unpleasantness has less to do with graphic violence – there are only one or two scenes that go hard, gore-wise – than with claustrophobia and boredom” – Dana Stevens, Slate. 

“Joker though, is a calculatedly combustible concoction, designed, like its chaos-creating character, to cause a stir. To provoke and distort. I wish it was as radical as it thinks it is” – Jake Coyle, Associated Press

The headline of Time magazine’s review of the film reads: “Joker wants to be a movie about the emptiness of our culture. Instead, it’s a prime example of it”. 

“Joker begs for a hero. It gives us a clown. Gotham seeks salvation and finds only blood” – Paul Asay, Plugged In

“Joker is definitely influenced by the comic books and there's plenty here for fans to appreciate. At its core, though, while it may not feature the villain battling it out with The Batman, this is just a masterclass in acting and filmmaking” – Josh Wilding, 

“In Joker, Joaquin Phoenix digs into the title role, kicks out the jams, and stamps the character with a danger all his own. ‘Phenomenal’ is a puny word to describe his gut-punch performance. Over-the-top? Maybe. But if you want to trade Hollywood pablum for bug-fuck intensity, do it with an actor who knows how to humanize a guy destined for hell. Laughing maniacally, dancing on a stairway to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” and twisting his face and body into contortions that defy physics, Phoenix is a virtuoso of unleashed id. You don’t dare look away from him… As entertainment and provocation, Joker is simply stupendous” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself” – Terri White, Empire

“The prospect of unnecessary sequels is always dismaying; but Joaquin Phoenix is so good here, and the movie's plot structure is so inventive, that you could find yourself actually wondering what might happen next” – Kurt Loder, Reason

A mixed bag of reviews for Todd Phillips’s daring reboot of the DC Comics anti-hero, where Joaquin Phoenix stars as the Joker in the movie of the same name. 

Actually, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A movie that’s divisive among critics is all the more reason to go and see it for yourself. 

My take? Methinks, it is an intense self-portrait of a loner and loser who found his true self in the end. 

He reveals to us the agonized soul that he is. Caring yet uncaring. Emotional yet emotionless. Innocent yet nihilistic. Brilliant acting, brilliant movie. On the button, brilliant.

As Tasha Robinson, The Verge wrote: “Joker is a deliberate and fine-tuned provocation and promise: you aren’t alone, the people you hate really are awful, and it would be okay to act against them in any way you want”. 

That correctly sums up Joker. 

According to Box Office Mojo as at October 10, 2019, Joker has already raked in $289,928,787 worldwide. After just seven days.

Last weekend saw the Warner Bros-DC Comics adaptation deliver the largest October domestic opening weekend of all-time and the fourth largest opening ever for an R-rated feature. In fact, the film was the #1 movie domestically and overseas, kicking things off with a $234 million global launch. 

Opening day audiences gave the film a "B+" CinemaScore with the under-35 set giving it an "A-". To go along with a solid critical opinion – 69% on RottenTomatoes – the film holds a 91% audience score on the same film-TV review-aggregation website to sashay along with an impressive 9.1/10 from IMDb users. 

Joker begins as a grim and brooding character study, with the story gradually taking subversive shape around Arthur Fleck’s anguished travails and then slowly and surely detonates into one kerpow of a tormenting descent into unending insanity. 

Joker is a deeply layered, strangely sympathetic turn of an iconic comic-book villain into a highly un-comic-book-like movie – and it is stunning and satisfying. 

Joker is an intricately-woven tale of madness, revenge and betrayal – and it is so real, so relatable, so relishing because of the mesmerising performance by Joaquin Phoenix. 

For much of its runtime, Joker is a sad film, visually and emotionally. Still, as Arthur himself reminds us his mother's advice "Smile and put on a happy face".


I know it too. Anyway, my recommendation for Joker: Definitely worth watching!

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