Joker (2019)

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WRITING (Todd Phillips/Scott Silver/Bob Kane/Bill Finger/Jerry Robinson): This brand new interpretation of the Joker is something to marvel at. He’s already broken and then the world rips him again from the very beginning. One thing that makes the writing for this film so great is that Arthur Fleck is an unreliable narrator. There are things in this film you see that turn out to not have been real and it helps us delve deeper into his psyche and his ego. However, they took that a step too far in this film. The ending of this film is very ambiguous, due to Arthur being unreliable, and makes us question the whole legitimacy of the story we just watched. Ambiguous endings are fine when they make you question aspects of the story or what happens after, but when they make you question the entire story, it makes watching the entirety of the movie feel almost worthless. But with that aside, the film’s pace is excellent and the dialogue is well-written, especially with how unreliable of a narrator Arthur is. 7/10

PERFORMANCES (Todd Phillips): Joaquin Phoenix disappeared into this role, giving us yet another iconic Joker performance. One of my favorite things about his performance is that he dips his left shoulder inward, especially when he is shirtless. This helps accentuate his spine and shoulders, making viewers feel more uncomfortable than we already are. Robert De Niro was also excellent in his role as Murray Franklin, feeling like a real TV host. The rest of the minor cast did a fantastic job. 10/10

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Lawrence Sher): The frame composition and lighting in this film are phenomenal. There were a handful of long takes that made the scenes feel more fluid and anxiety-inducing. 10/10

EDITING (Jeff Groth): The color grading on this film was stellar. It made everything feel grimy and disgusting. The cutting was also perfect, making everything flow seamlessly. 10/10

VISUAL EFFECTS (Brian Adler): Most of the VFX in this film were excellent. The riots, the gun shots, everything was great. However, there was one moment that stood out to me. During a scene in the film, a character’s reflection is show in the lens of a camera. The way the reflection is composited into the shot, makes it feel like not a reflection at all. There were no shines on the glass, no distortion because of cameras at that time. It just felt rushed. 9/10

ENJOYMENT: Can enjoyment come in the form of discomfort and anxiety? Because if so, then I very much enjoyed this film… until the end. The ambiguous ending felt like a cop out in an otherwise stellar film. 7/10

MUSICAL SCORE (Hildur Guðnadóttir): The score for this film is outstanding. It elevates every scene it makes an appearance in and every track has a very unique feel. It’s slightly disturbing and carries a certain weight to it that echoes through the scenes. 10/10

SOUND (Tod A. Maitland): The sound in this was perfect. I have zero complaints towards the mixing or the design. Everything sounded normally and part of the world of the film. 10/10

PRODUCTION DESIGN (Mark Friedberg): I want to start this by saying that the new Joker costume is great and the progression on getting there makes it even better. The set designs are wonderful as well, giving a certain ambiguity in the time period this film takes place in, similar to Pulp Fiction. 10/10

OVERALL: ‘Joker’ gives us another iconic performance for the titular character that differentiates itself from all other interpretations. Everything came together in unique ways to give us a symphony of agony. The only problem I wish they had changed was the unnecessarily ambiguous ending.


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