ROGER THOMAS FILM REVIEW: ‘Joker’ is brutal, but engaging from the first minute
Published 10:21 am Thursday, October 10, 2019
By Roger Thomas, for the SNAP
Before the review I want to offer a thought.
I have seen countless movies that contained violence. Some people are saying “Joker” will cause violence. It might.
As I watched the film I did not feel the emotion to do violence. I felt and feel sadness for all people who find violence in this world instead of love.
“Joker” is a film about someone who cannot find love and peace.
There have been many hero films in the last decade. There are more before this past decade, but in the last 10 years the superheroes have multiplied in the characters on the screen. Just last year’s “Black Panther,” a superhero film, was nominated for “Best Picture.” And more importantly, the filmmakers have grown in the depth of the stories.
There is a new film that opened this past Friday. It is a rare film.
First, the lead character is a villain. Actually, the whole film is about a character who grows more harsh and destructive as the narrative builds.
When I saw “Joker” there were two outstanding elements that I found were remarkable. Here are these two.
First, the best quality of this film is the slow change and demise of the main character. Joaquin Phoenix plays a troubled young man. He is not comfortable in his life, but he does not know how to change his circumstances. But then slowly he begins to evolve into someone else. This change may not be for the best, but that is the discovery of the film.
Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck. Remember, this is a slow film that builds on the struggles and frustrations of others and those of Arthur. Arthur lives with his mother. He seems to have no friends. And the neighbors are not too friendly. So his life just seems to exist very slowly.
And once again, the timing of the plot is one of the best aspects of the film. In the beginning one might get frustrated, but once one understands the rate of the story, it is exactly what it should be. Arthur is in a pot and the pot is heating a little more every day, figuratively.
There is no doubt that the water will hit boiling — the question is just what will Arthur do before he does something really terrible.
It should be pointed out that Arthur is a grown man at the beginning of the film, but in certain ways he is still becoming who he is going to be.
There are several things that happen in his life, but probably the one most recognizable event is when Arthur commits a crime that includes someone he will see again.
If there is another film following the same timeline, the audience will see what happens to Arthur.
Some will skip this film because of the rating. Others are not fond of superhero films, even though this is a villain film. Others have heard enough and have decided that is not for them.
I am voting for the film for those two elements that are the best in the film. Joaquin Phoenix does great acting even if he plays a person who becomes more darker and dangerous in every frame.
And the other element of the film that I truly enjoyed is that the story built on a pace that was completely perfect. It took a long time to get to any violence, but by the time the audience gets there, the picture of Arthur is clear and the audience knows just what he is going to do.
Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.