The Joker

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, shows the downward spiral of self-destruction of an impoverished man, Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix. With it’s dark, twisted ways, it’s a psychologically influential movie as it shows the Joker’s manic tendencies. Arthur, trying to cope with a failed job, turns Gotham into a crime filled city, more than it already was. This is a story of how a man turned into Gotham City’s greatest fear. 

Joaquin Phoenix, the actor that portrayed the Joker in the most recent adaptation had high expectations to live up to, after actors, such as, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto had already made a name for him. The Joker is most commonly known as Batman’s evil and twisted arch nemesis. This film does not fall short of the Joker’s reputation as one of the greatest villains. Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight portrayed the Joker and is the most well known. His iconic portrayal left Joaquin Phoenix with big shoes to fill. But Phoenix still managed to create another masterful depiction of Joker. The question is, whose Joker is better?  Heath Ledger displays a manic, powerful character, while Joaquin Phoenix takes a more sympathetic look at the backstory of the villain.

Throughout the entire movie, there were many gory and disturbing scenes. There are times where substance abuse is implied as well as sexual abuse. Arthur is on medications due to his mental illness of uncontrollable laughter occuring at unfortunate times. His violent actions stem from the societal rejection of his mental illness, so watchers can’t help but sympathize with his manic ways. Not only does his mental illness spark compassion, but also his revealed childhood trauma. 

The Joker’s booming, untimely laughter, along with his neon green hair, is what make the Joker, Joker. The actor, Joaquin Phoenix, could not master this laughter on his first try. Imitating this laughter, was something that took him very long to understand and properly execute. He studied many videos of people that had this same condition and just tried and tried again until he could get it. There were times where he’d get it really quickly, and others were it would take it him multiple tries. One of the reasons that this movie is not recommended for younger audiences is because of the disturbing, maniacal laughter. The Joker is not a supernatural character, unlike most of the superheroes, and that’s what makes him one of the most terrifying villains. He exposes the capacity for madness in all members of society, who can turn violent after just “one bad day.” 

The Joker is a very deep, disturbing, psychological thriller that has enthralled many people. It broke the record as the biggest October weekend box office opening ever, bringing in $93.5 million in ticket sales. It is already in the running for the most controversial movie of 2019, and there is plenty of buzz about an Oscar nomination for Joaquin Phoenix for his performance that captures the essence of Joker. Despite the blood-curdling acts that occur in this movie, Joaquin Phoenix truly shows the depth of the character and shows the villain in another light.

Ariya Patel
Staff Writer

Graphic: Nicole Kye

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