5 reasons ‘Joker’ is a must-see

The hate surrounding “Joker” that premiered in early October has overpowered the extremely relevant topics addressed in it.

Fighting an oppressive government, dealing with mental disorders, class warfare and gun violence are merely some of the controversial themes used throughout the plot.

The character of the Joker has been constantly portrayed as the “murderous and havoc-wreaking enemy of Batman.” Joaquin Phoenix follows in Mark Hamill’s and Heath Ledger’s footsteps by taking on this complex, intense and exhausting role. 

Many have joined the bandwagon of boycotting the main character, this movie and its premises. 

However, these people seem to be more afraid of the reality of the movie’s message than the damage it may cause to its viewers.

Other than the obvious intrigue of the dark and twisted plot, these are five reasons why you should see the “Joker.”


Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is captivating and raw

Joaquin Phoenix takes on the role of Aruther Fleck, a twisted hero and victim of circumstances who comes from a distinct origin of mental illness.

Phoenix stated that playing the Joker took a large physical and mental toll on his body, mainly due to the fact that he had to lose 52 pounds to play the malnourished character.

And of course, the Joker’s laugh came across as exceptionally painful and deeply sad given by the look in his eyes. One could tell the amount of work that was taken to perfect it.

The astonishing transformation of Fleck from a nervous aspiring comedian to a self-found villain was captured immaculately by Joaquin Phoenix.


The cinematography is unmatched

The unmatched cinematography of the “Joker” trailer captivated the audience even before the movie hit theatres. 

Lawrence Sher directed and photographed the visuals of each scene by using specific cameras and lenses on the Joker to accentuate the sadness and grunge in his makeup and body movement.

The use of LED projection technology during the fast-paced subway scenes is another secret that Lawrence shared with fans, which made each frame come to life.

It was very difficult to take eyes off of Phoenix due to the hypnotizing camera angling, color processing and, of course, facial movement.


The scoring speaks to The Joker’s troubled life

Not only was the cinematography an entrancing aspect, so was the scoring.

Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir brought together a plethora of unique tracks, such as “Smile” by Jimmy Durant and “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra, whose lyrics and titles both spoke to the Joker’s troubled life.

Guðnadóttir also incorporated one of her own pieces into the darkly poetic bathroom-dancing scene in which the Joker interpretively expresses his joy through dance.

Surprisingly, the score was predominantly written prior to the start of filming, thus influencing the mood and direction of the film.

There was not one part of this movie that was not meticulously thought out by both Phillips and Phoenix. 


The struggle with mental health is real

Much of the film’s controversy derived from the way in which Phoenix portrays mental illness and the character of the Joker himself. 

Arthur Fleck suffers from an uncontrollable disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times, as well as many other illnesses that are shown in scenes with his mother, who suffers as well.

One scene shows Fleck’s journal that says, “The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”

Although the movie’s portrayal of mental illness may be misleading to some, those who think otherwise are able to understand the breakthrough that Fleck experiences to find himself.

The film is not meant to promote violence of mentally unstable people, it is about finally feeling free to do anything after separating from those who held you down.


The controversy over the movie is as important as the movie itself

The inspiration of violence in the audience members is the primary concern for those critiquing the movie. In retrospect, these people are not only questioning other’s capabilities, but also their own as spectators.

The lack of moral structure in this movie causes viewers to sympathize with the protagonist villain. 

Fleck’s acts eventually become justified by fellow citizens of Gotham because he is helping them to fight an oppressive government. 

Ultimately, the Joker begins to get revenge on those who wronged him and takes justice into his own hands. Whether Todd Phillips likes it or not, he has created a polarizing film.

However, the movie lets viewers interpret the metaphorical plot without forcing them to feel a specific way about it. It is their platform for imagination.

by Abigail Thomas

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