Joaquin Phoenix has made progressive strides in film history with the latest psychological take on the villain movie, “Joker.” With a stellar performance as Arthur Fleck, he convincingly takes the audience on an emotional, deranged journey. Through his depiction, the film is informant of the misunderstood part of society who experience injustice. Although, the Joker is most commonly known as a villain in the superhero franchise, in this movie he is painted out to be the underdog hero.
As a result of Phoenix’s outstanding execution of the infamous Joker role, the film has accumulated a vast amount of attention and success. It has been an achievement in itself that this film, among the superhero/villain franchise, has led to the amount of awards and been given so much awareness. This popularity has won the film lots of critical attention as well including nine Oscar nominations and two wins for best actor and best musical score, four Golden Globe wins and about 40 other nominations including the Guild Awards, Venice Film Festival, etc.
Before “Joker” went to theaters, it was critiqued positively in a way that was not only flattering to the content of the film but Joaquin Phoenix’s embodiment of the paranoid persona Arthur Fleck entailed. According to Variety, “Joker” received an impressive eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival premiere.
Although, this film has quickly become well-known, there has been a great deal of controversy which has surrounded it due to the many serious concepts it touches on. The biggest idea addressed being is mental health. Fleck is driven by his paranoia, anxiety and psychopathic tendencies which brings about a rather violent plot. Due to the classist and oppressive community in Gotham City where the movie takes place, “Joker” becomes the hero to “the little guys.”
In the film, people of lower classes and the underrepresented portion of Gotham City, find the answer to solving their problems to be using violence. Ironically, Fleck becomes the hero to civilians, killing the “bad guys” who mistreat the weaker citizens. All in all, though the brutality shown in the film is considered excessive, in the end the film seems to argue that it is necessary to resolve affairs pertaining to society.
Though the movie addresses several taboo issues related to mental health, violence, oppression, etc., it is still an important film. Moreover, Joaquin Phoenix gave homage to the late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker as well, which he acknowledged in his Golden Globes acceptance speech as impacting his craft.
Even though it is painful to watch, that’s because it is so well done. If you haven’t yet appreciated Phoenix’s phenomenal and ferocious performance as the Arthur Fleck, the Joker, you should.