'Joker': A Gritty Reinterpretation of the Titular Villain's Rise from the Streets of Gotham City
Joker (2019) is a hard-boiled psychological thriller fashioned as a reinterpretation of the titular DC Comics villain, portrayed here by Joaquin Phoenix. The film serves as an origin story for Gotham City's infamous madman, first introduced as Arthur Fleck, a struggling party clown beset by severe psychological disturbance.
The storyline charts the steady disintegration of Fleck’s sensibilities, as he yearns for social acceptance while beset by a condition causing him to laugh aloud in the most inappropriate of circumstances. Unable to maintain his prescribed medication after public service cutbacks, Arthur soon gains cult status following an act of violent retribution that makes waves in the local media. Bolstered by his newfound identity as a celebrated antihero, Arthur launches into a campaign of fierce requital against a society that has relegated him to obscurity and dejection.
Co-written and directed by American filmmaker Todd Phillips (Old School, War Dogs) and highlighted by an utterly astonishing, Academy Award-winning performance by Phoenix, Joker is a monumental depiction of a criminal mastermind's awakening. Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver have evoked a gritty atmosphere and aesthetic akin to the celebrated "Movie Brat" era of the 1970's—and come away with one of the finest comic book films ever put to screen.
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