TL;DR – A hollow film trying to say something but knowing it actually has nothing to say and hoping you will be distracted by Phoenix’s performance not to notice.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
It has been a couple of days since I watched Joker and instead of writing the review right away I needed to let this film sit a percolate in my brain for a bit before I started writing. Part of that is because I have talked to a lot of people because there are a lot of different experiences with the film, so I wanted to make sure I knew the different perspectives before I dived in. But also because there are aspects of the film I quite like and those that I really don’t and I needed to work through that juxtaposition.
So to set the scene, in the 1980s Gotham City is beset by a garbage strike and tempers are starting to flare as the piles of rubbish start to accumulate. On the outskirts of the city lives Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) who works as a clown during the day and looks after his housebound mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in the evenings. Which would be difficult enough for any person but Arthur suffers from a neurological condition that required multiple types of medication and still causes spontaneous uncontrollable laughter. Things are manageable for Arthur but as his life starts to unravel so does he.