Joker (2019) 14A

Movie Review Submitted by: Ramje Uthayakumaar

Joker, directed by Todd Philips, is essentially an origin story for the super villain Joker. A man named Arthur Fleck, who was an aspiring stand-up comedian, gets pushed to edge by the people and the society of Gotham City. Gotham City is a dump of a city with a huge wealth gap that can be seen throughout the film. Arthur also has multiple mental illnesses, such as Depression and Schizophrenia, and also a medical disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times. This all adds to his outcast characterization that has him shunned by society for being different.

In the movie, Arthur tips over the edge after being assaulted by three rich young men and is forced to defend himself by shooting one of them. But, one can say this was more psychopathic in nature than it seems because after shooting two of the men in the subway, he chases the other one who tries to escape through the station. In the end, he catches up with him and shoots him, not once, but unloads the revolver into him. This kind of shows the viewer that he has started to change into the Joker.

The movie was very well-shot, the cinematographer Lawrence Sher knew how to engage the audience with every scene. He paid attention to the colour in each shot. I also really enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix’s acting. It was amazing. I’m not much of a critic, but I know good acting when I see it. I think he should be considered for an Oscar for the “Best Actor in a motion picture” award because of how dedicated he was as he lost almost 50 pounds for the role!

One thing I didn’t like was the lack of a clear theme. Though not all movies should have a theme or a motive that it’s telling the audience, I feel like the Joker could have had a bigger one because of its take on the way society treats those with mental illnesses.

Movie Smoking or vaping status: This film contains various smoking scenes

What was happening in the scenes with smoking / vaping? This movie did have scenes with characters smoking cigarettes. Arthur Fleck had many scenes that showed him smoking a cigarette and in some of these scenes he’s doing nothing but sitting down, thinking and smoking or he’s dancing or running. It appears that having the character smoke was to make him do something and not just look boring.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? Smoking looked natural for him because it was clear that Arthur Fleck didn’t care about his well-being at all and the film may of implied a bit about mental illness and it’s relationship to smoking.