So as an avid and obvious fan of comic books and their interpretations on TV and in film, you’d think that I would’ve heard about this film, a long time before it came onto screens. But on this rare occasion, you would be wrong. I can begin to tell you the annoyance that I feel when I stumble upon someone who claims they love the Joker and everything he stands for. Who stands for chaos in this life? Not you, you second-year medical student!
Yet, I digress. The film tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a rather odd man whose part-time job as a clown only seems to keep landing him in trouble. Added to that is a medical condition that leads him to laugh uncontrollably, and together you get someone you feel really sorry for. After he’s leant a gun from one of his workmates, his life seems to go from bad to worse. However, it’s not all bad, Arthur dreams of being a comedian and he begins to perform stand-up comedy. This is just another twist in his life, and slowly a series of unfortunate events lead to the creation of a rather sick and twisted individual. That’s all I can say without spoiling the film completely.
Okay. Analysis time. Believe me, when I say, this is one of the greatest films I have ever seen in my life. I really didn’t want to imagine that a film about the Joker could be this good, but it is a masterpiece of a generation. Joaquin Pheonix has always been a unique individual, but in this film, his transformation into this iconic character and his superb acting is unparalleled. The supporting cast, including Robert De Niro, were all really good, but they never have a chance in hell of comparing to Pheonix.
The film tackles so many issues, but by far the most prominent is the treatment of those with mental health issues by the rest of the world. As a future healthcare worker, I saw the untold possibilities of letting patients with mental health conditions slip through the metaphorical net of social services. Apart from this, there is also the issue of social class and how stark the differences are between the bourgeoisie and the working class, and how trapped individuals in the latter may feel.
Finally, we come on to the music. Quite often during a film, we forget to pay attention to the soundtrack of a film, but ‘Joker’ won’t let you do that. Each of the songs and much of the music is integral to what makes this film so good. Pheonix’s preparation for the role apparently included learning to dance, and this coupled with the music made for some fantastic watching.
As of this moment, ‘Joker’ has made almost 10 times what its production budget was and I can only see it going up from here. I hardly ever watch films and state that they need to win awards, but if ever there was one, it’s this one. If you haven’t seen this film, you need to!