Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker makes “The Joker” memorable


AntMan3001, Flickr, Creative Commons

Released on October 4, 2019, Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker makes “The Joker” memorable.

That menacing and sickening laugh is back in theaters. The beloved fan favorite from The Dark Knight hasn’t been on screens for nearly 10 years. 

Directed by Todd Phillips, The Joker was released on October 4 of this year. This movie is a dark, bloody story of a ragged man named Arthur Fleck played by Joaquin Phoenix, who has had three Oscar nominations. Phoenix is the third actor to play the infamous joker in the past 11 years. The film focuses on Arthur struggling to find himself in the rough streets of Gotham City. A wanna-be comedian, Fleck feels he isn’t given any attention in society. This hunger to be noticed eventually drives him to be the Joker fans know and love. 

As an avid Joker/Batman I’ve seen many interpretations of the Joker. Some comical, some creepy, and some light. I believe that Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker is a combination of all of the aforementioned elements. The laugh is what truly defines the role of this Joker. Throughout the movie, Arthur deals with a condition where he laughs for absolutely no reason. The condition causes others to give him nasty and gnarly looks. Due to this, I felt as if it was a view from the other side of the bridge. It almost gives the feeling that this crazed mindset can have reasoning behind it. Almost as if movie director Todd Phillips wanted the audience to feel for the Joker. Phillips created this feeling and held on to it for the whole movie. Arthur would stalk his neighbor and his mind he was dating her while in reality, it’s all in his mind. It was fake. Phillips does this to make it seem as though Arthur was a normal person and that these psychopaths may appear quite normal. 

‘The Joker’ is definitely worth a watch, but I would suggest saving your money and wait for it to come out on streaming services. ”

— Charlie Deterding

After being fired from his job as a clown, his mother dying, and having continued question marks of his past Arthur grows closer and closer to insanity. He is then invited on a late-night talk show just to be made fun of. Arthur then turns full-psycho and dresses up in his clown getup to go on a live talk show. Pulling out a gun, he speaks of why he is doing everything he is doing. This is where the movie gets a little odd. When I think the Joker, I think of a man who just is insane and doesn’t have any reasoning other than missing some bolts in their head. But this Joker goes on to explain his feelings on how the rich pay no attention to the poor. It gave the film a real vibe that was quite uncomfortable. I felt as if the director was trying to just display that this movie isn’t very far fetched in fact it is quite realistic. 

In previous Batman movies, the writers always seem to have a heart touching story for Bruce Wayne and they speak so highly of his father, Thomas Wayne. This film portrayed that side of the story in a different light with Thomas being a flat out jerk. This part did not sit well with because I had this professional image of him in my head and that ruined it. It also felt strange when the writers tried to show that Arthur was really Bruce Wayne’s stepbrother. This was definitely a change from the other Batman movies.

Another connection to the batman movies is when they recreated the death of Bruce’s parents in the ally—A mystery to all Batman enthusiasts. Phillips depicts a random, crazed joker killing them. This finally provides the hardcore Batman fans with some closure of the real events behind the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

The Joker is definitely worth a watch, but I would suggest saving your money and wait for it to come out on streaming services.