The Prince of Crime laughs his way to the top of the box office—Phoenix shines in Joker

Dylan Frazier

Email: frazierd@findlay.edu

Twitter: @dylanfrazier44

In what may be the third-most hyped movie of the year behind Avengers and Star Wars, Todd Phillips’ Joker came out amidst all the controversy that surrounded its release. For those who do not know, the FBI got a tip that someone on the dark web had planned to shoot up a movie theater during opening weekend. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and controversy aside, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is a chilling, graphic, and intense depiction of a mentally ill person with some comments on society as well.

If you’re expecting Bruce Wayne to show up and fight the Joker, I suggest you sit this one out. Joker follows the story of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a mentally ill man who is down on his luck and no one really ever cares about him. Constantly getting bullied and beaten on takes its toll on Arthur which eventually creates the monster we know as Joker.

I’ll be up front about this movie and say I don’t know if this movie is for the faint of heart because its roots are based in the horror genre. Never have I been so exhausted by a movie that was less than two hours, but in the best of ways. Phoenix could go from a “normal” guy to completely unhinged in a matter of seconds; it was terrifying. The way he could go in and out of the two sides of Arthur Fleck was insane and once Arthur finally snaps, it was over. Todd Phillips did an excellent job making the movie suspenseful and tense that it only played into the horror of the movie. I don’t think I’ve ever been so on edge while I was at the movie theater.

The category for best male lead performance this year is going to be absolutely loaded. From Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, to Taron Egerton in Rocketman, it’s gonna be a tight race this year. That being said, I don’t think anyone did a role better than Joaquin Phoenix did for Arthur Fleck. This role took a toll on Phoenix, as he had to lose 52 pounds to play. Along with that, playing Arthur had to have been so hard.

I also thought the social commentary in this movie was so well-done. The main point of the movie, at least to me, was that society created the monster. Arthur begged and pleaded for help, but no one ever gave it to him. People can only take so much before they finally snap and start doing things they shouldn’t. The next one was the class gap between the rich and the poor. When something bad happened to the rich in this movie, society wept for the loss. But when someone like Arthur would die, no one batted an eye. The sad reality is all of these things happen in the real world a lot, Phillips told his story in the best way possible.The Prince of Crime laughs his way to the top of the box office—Phoenix shines in Joker

For me, Joker is probably the best movie I have seen so far this year. I understand the controversy surrounding the movie, but everything in the actual movie was incredible; the score, the acting, the story, all of it worked for me. I do recommend this movie but with severe caution, as it really is a horror movie put in the comic book world and it may not resonate with everyone. This movie is either going to be hit or be miss with people. As for me, it was nothing but a hit.

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