The Joker movie leaves you speechless. Todd Phillips has created a masterpiece made possible by an actor who literally takes your breath away by his phenomenal performance as Arthur Fleck.
Oscar bells are already ringing for Joaquin Phoenix who delivers a stunning version of our favourite villain. The references insinuate a different universe altogether but it is one where the character has been done maximum justice.
The Plot of Joker Movie
The plot that Todd presents to us for the Joker movie is more like a profound delve into the mind of a man constantly bullied by the system. This quaint perspective implies all the wrongdoings of a city on its subject. The way it affects him, the way it turns him into its product.
That being said, Joker isn’t a villain that makes Gotham what it is. It is the other way round – Gotham is what turns him into a villain.
My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face. She told me I had a purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the world.
There is lawlessness everywhere. Corruption seeps through the veins of its residents. The rich trample down the destitute, make that thick line very obvious. They are wicked, cruel and contemptuous and those feelings get reciprocated.
The city is arrogant and a man named Arthur Fleck who was already on the verge of a breakdown ends up feeling its effects. If you were to leave a patient out cold, take away all his medication, that last straw of hope, a surefire train wreck is imminent.
Arthur is one such project. A case study that we get to witness in two hours of a sensational coup that will twist your insides out if you relate to that poor man’s plight.
Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?
Even as Arthur tries to take it from every section of the society, it is only when he ends up retaliating that he truly tastes revenge. It is this retaliation that allows him to fully express himself, and for a sick man to taste this reprisal is like an outlet.
For my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do, and people are starting to notice.
The Joker movie then gradually unfurls into a resurrection story where that caged bird tastes freedom and relives joy unhindered. He comes into existence finally for a society that had made him feel invisible, unseen him owing to all the deformities he was born with.
Gotham treated him like trash. To be able to get out of there and stand up on his own feet made him feel assuaged. To find a sweet escape even though it came up with a cost was refreshing.
I don’t even feel bad.
So, Arthur Fleck ended up doing what he felt good about. With that, he was no longer a victim to the constant grind of society.
The Import of Dance in Movie Joker
Dance has a huge impact on our lives. I had gathered it when I had come across The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho for the first time. For a person who hasn’t danced, he has never really expressed himself truly.
For an intricate character like Arthur, dance is one of those forms which he uses quite often to express. We can see that his soul dances, whenever he is really happy. We see the same expression take form when he kills.
A mood of a person can be deduced by his actions. Human psychology can be read using his gait, his demeanor or the way he moves, the way he stands.
The way Arthur expresses himself using various dance forms is suggestive of a butterfly trying to leave its cocoon. It is brimming with expression and the score by Hildur Guðnadóttir simply aces it to perfection.
Nailing the Human Psychology
It goes without saying that a lot of work has been put into the making of the Joker movie. Thorough research has gone into the creation of Arthur Fleck.
Psychologists have been approached to read into the psyche of an introvert guy with a condition, who is just trying to get by, doing his job, trying his best to stay away from trouble and yet somehow trouble ends up finding him.
The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.
Little things like nervous shaking of the leg, the eye contact, the dancing and the hiding, keeping himself in his own corner, legs folded, are all suggestive of how much psychology has been entailed in the creation of this amazing character.
And the contrast can be seen when he decides to come out of that incovenient zone. Arthur’s newly found form is confident and impactful. There is a different gait he dons, a new style altogether visible in his laughter, even in the way he speaks.
The final climax is where you see him accepting this new version of his. Agreeing to play the part of a saviour of the trodden, Arthur becomes the clown everybody needed.
While a lot of people might be speculating how Thomas Wayne has been shown in a bad light, and that the parents of Bruce Wayne got what was coming for them, it is very important to understand that the universe Arthur Fleck breathes in is a different universe altogether.
Gotham’s lost its way. What kind of coward would do something that cold blooded? Someone who hides behind a mask.
There are many versions of this popular story. The way things pan out for Bruce ending up as Batman is something that constitutes our preferred universe. Because of that one popular story, various writers over the years have toyed with the idea of that unfortunate alley shot.
The similarities that this universe shares with the original makes you postulate even more, even though it shows the clown in a very positive way, it should not be forgotten that killing is really bad.
No one is above the law, and even though Batman serves as a vigilante to clean his city of thugs and ruffians, even he isn’t above the law and the clown prince does something very similar. However, the bottom line is taking someone’s life should never be a solution, and yet there is something very powerful about Todd’s version that makes you frantic whenever you see a Joker-kill.
It is almost as if Todd has justified Joker’s villainy, and now going forward people would relate to him, and probably root for him too.
The Comic Book Inspiration
It is good that there are such countless perspectives as was shown in the movie Joker for it paves way for more interesting ideas and possibilities. It was also good to see that the story of Joker was very similar to many popular comics and animated movies we have come across before.
That being said, inspiration from The Killing Joke is quite heavy. There is also a point wherein Arthur mentions – one bad day, a popular quote from the comic book. How everyone is just one bad day away from turning into a monster!
The influence is heavy and the illustrations are simply nailed to perfection with some endearing cinematography by Lawrence Sher.
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Scenes to Watch Out For (Spoilers)
There are plenty of pieces in the main course that you are going to cherish forever. The point where you see Arthur going after Randall (Glenn Fleshler) is probably the best scene in the movie. It literally makes you jump off your seat.
What follows is one of the best acting sequences you would ever witness in a movie. Joaquin definitely deserves an Oscar for his role!
There is a point where, as some might say, he faces off against a young Bruce Wayne. For a fanatic, every Batman movie feels kind of empty without a joker reference, so is the other way round. One of those rare highlights where you just want to sit and ponder for a second about the emanating possibilities.
Also, the part where he delivers a really strong message by appearing on the talk show of Murray (Robert De Niro) is the high point of the movie. Watch him act after the deed is done. He literally mesmerizes you on so many points that it is hard to just marvel at one.
What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? I’ll tell you what you get! You get what you fuckin’ deserve!
Another high point of the movie is when he stands on his feet to applause. The way he uses his blood to plant a smile on his face is sheer badass.
The Final Verdict
The significance of Joker in Batman’s history is huge. The archnemesis has a backstory and when you provide every character with a backstory, the primal story ends up becoming more powerful.
I am glad that the writers did this. Every important character like that needs to be written in this manner.
I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.
The Joker movie is outrageously good even if you aren’t really a fan. This story is literally for everybody.
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