In mainstream movies these days, “dark” is just every other taste. Like “edgy,” it’s a choice you use depending on what marketplace you want to attain. And it’s miles particularly useful while injected into the comic ebook genre.
Darkness does not have tons to do with emotions of alienation the filmmaker desires to express or purge, as was the case with a film like “Taxi Driver.” It’s no longer about exploring uncomfortable thoughts, as turned into executed in “The King of Comedy.” Do you watched Todd Phillips, who co-wrote and directed “Joker,” and references the ones films so often you may anticipate that Martin Scorsese changed into enlisted as a govt producer right here as a way of averting a plagiarism lawsuit, certainly cares approximately profits inequality, superstar worship, and the shortage of civility in current society? I don’t know him in my opinion however I wager he doesn’t give a toss. He’s got the pile he made on those “Hangover” films—which a few trusts have certainly contributed to the dearth of civility in and so forth.—and cannot simplest buy up all the water that’s going to be denied us normal slobs after the huge one hits, he can have the funds for the bunker for after the larger one hits.
Which isn’t to head thus far as to mention that if you purchase into “Joker,” the shaggy dog story’s on you. (Except in the long run it truly is.) If you live to peer Joaquin Phoenix go to acting extremes like nobody’s commercial enterprise, this film really is the apotheosis of that. As Arthur Fleck, the increasingly more unglued street clown and wannabe stand-up comedian down and out in what looks like 1980s Gotham (although who is aware of what length detail seems like in fictional towns), Phoenix flails, dances, laughs maniacally, places matters in his mouth that shouldn’t cross there, and commits multiple clearly ugly and disgusting crimes with ferocious enjoy.
Much has been made, by means of Warner, and I guess DC Comics, of the fact that this is supposed as a “standalone” movie that has no narrative connection to other pictures inside the DC Universe, but that’s having your cake and consuming it too when you continue to name your lunatic asylum “Arkham” and your cinematic DC Universe is converting its Batmen each twenty mins anyway. Maybe what they simply mean is that that is the primary and final DC film that’s going to be rated R.
A score it thoroughly earns. The violence in this movie method to surprise, and it does. Fleck’s alienation within the early scenes conjures up Travis Bickle’s, however, this film is simply too bird-livered to provide Fleck Bickle’s racism, even though it depicts him basically getting hassled by way of human beings of color in the first third. Fleck is likewise fixated with a Carson-like speak-show host played by means of Robert De Niro, reversing the “King of Comedy” player positions. He also likes the black lady down the corridor from him, performed through Zazie Beetz. The casting is not just supposed to provide the film bragging rights on the zeitgeist curve, however, to awaken Diahnne Abbott in both “Taxi Driver” and “Comedy.” Fleck’s apparently a success wooing of the person is a jaw-dropper that had me questioning Beetz have to hearth her agent, but a late-sport rationalization makes it … nicely, forgivable isn’t quite the word, but it will do.
As Gotham starts to burn (the civil unrest begins with a rubbish strike), Fleck, who has been taken as a vigilante by using a good deal of the metropolis’s ninety-nine %, doesn’t quite recognize what to make of his underground cult stardom. (The city is beset by using rioters in clown make-up and clown masks; due to the fact this movie is as an alternative abruptly behind the curve in “clowns-are-horrifying” awareness—simplest Pennywise gets a unique dispensation nowadays—these sequences appear to be “The Revolt of the Juggalos” or something equally laughable.) His mother (Frances Conroy, the terrible female) has been writing letters to her former corporation, the tycoon Thomas Wayne, and Arthur opens one of the missives and reads them, getting to know something annoying.
The storyline in and of itself isn’t a total pass over. But once the film starts offevolved lifting pictures from “A Clockwork Orange” (and yes, Phillips and organization got Warners to let them use the Saul Bass studio logo for the hole credit, in white on pink, yet) its priorities are much less in entertainment than in generating self-importance. As a social statement, “Joker” is pernicious rubbish. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s overall performance, it additionally presentations some principal movie studio center competencies, in a no longer numerous way to what “A Star Is Born” offered closing yr. (Bradley Cooper is a manufacturer.) The assisting players, inclusive of Glenn Fleshler and Brian Tyree Henry, bring added value to their scenes, and the entirety appears like a film. The final mins, to be able to flow any sentient viewer to mutter “might you just select a goddamn ending and persist with it?” are possibly an indication of what type of mess we’d have had on our palms had Phillips been left totally to his own cynical incoherent gadgets for the entire runtime. Fortunately, he receives with a touch assist from his friends.