The film follows Arthur Fleck’s descent into madness, spiraling as Gotham relentlessly beats him down – in more ways than one. As the synopsis reads, “Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events.”
A solo Joker film without Batman is not a film I’d be all that excited to see if I read the idea on paper. BUT, with this talent involved and the great trailers so far, my money is now ready for the taking. Phoenix appears to be putting in some heavy work here, creating a pathetic man with simmering anger and sadness that, importantly, we can understand. It’ll be interesting to see where Joker’s narrative ends up going here; an open ending, perhaps? Or will we be left with Batman being teased? Or maybe it’s much more tragic, and the likes of Arthur Fleck simply aren’t meant to be.
It all looks pretty far removed from the screen Joker renditions we’ve seen before, which is good – “fresh” isn’t a word you can use to describe a studio film too often these days. There could be award love on the way for Phoenix and rest of the creative team, including director/co-writer Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy), cinematographer Lawrence Sher (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Chernobyl, Sicario: Day of the Soldado). Here’s hoping.
Joker, also starring Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Shea Whigham, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge and Josh Pais, arrives in Australia on October 3 and opens in the US on October 4.
Official synopsis for Joker:
Director Todd Phillips “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.