The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Classic villain’s roots revealed in thriller

October 9, 2019 | Joseph Serrata | photo editor
Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of the iconic D.C. villain, Joker. This portrayal of the clown prince of crime is a darker and more realistic take on the character.
Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of the iconic D.C. villain, Joker. This portrayal of the clown prince of crime is a darker and more realistic take on the character.

When Joaquin Phoenix was announced to play the Joker in an R-rated film, one of the topics of interest was how he would compare to previous actors who took up the mantle before him, especially when compared to the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance.

However, Phoenix delivers a harsh yet breathtaking performance, which marks this film as a bold standout from the rest of his career.

“Joker,” without a doubt, surpassed expectations almost flawlessly. Everything from the consistently layered cinematography to the melancholic score hits it out of the park.

Written and directed by Todd Phillips, “Joker” can be summarized as watching a failing comedian by the name of Arthur Fleck slowly, but without caution, struggle with his place in a city and society that doesn’t care for him. That is, until Fleck reaches a breaking point and starts his descent into the character we know as the Joker.

However, there is one issue that does stall the movie from being perfect. While not always true, the plot underwhelms in areas. Every other aspect of the film sets the bar so high that it results in the plot feeling a touch too slow. The plot remains satisfying but heavily relies on the other parts of the film to bring it all together.

The cinematography by Hildur Guðnadóttir is captivating. Never does it feel lazy, as it stays focused and ever-present throughout the entire film. The camera work adds an extra layer to the occasionally mediocre plot by capturing and playing off the characters in the story. The scenes often isolate Fleck and make him feel more alienated by positioning certain shots into confining angles or swaying with the same intensity and lunacy as Fleck continues to fall deeper into his downward spiral.

Composed by Lawrence Sher, the score works in tandem with the meticulous cinematography to set a depressed and sometimes sadistic tone for the film.

The music fills the film with air and allows it to breathe during some of the best scenes, only to immediately reverse that effect on the audience, leaving them in a state of eerie shock.

The most impressive part of the film is Phoenix himself, as he truly plays two characters in this film. The first being a broken man named Fleck and later a completely insane anarchist who seems to have no true guidance. Phoenix’s performance is so strong that both of these characters can inhabit the same scene at once and can leave the viewer with an equal amount of remorse as well as fear. The amalgamation of cinematography, score and plot in a film about a guy dressed as a clown is almost as unbelievable as a guy who fights crime dressed as a bat.

“Joker” suffers only from a plot that doesn’t live up to the incredible standards it has set for itself, but it gives the origin of the greatest comic book villain in history.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian