Joker is the newest adaptation of the classic story of the clown prince of crime. However, the caped crusader is not in the film, the story instead revolves around Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker. Joker stars Joaquin Pheonix as Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man living with his mother in Gotham. The Joker has been an agent of chaos in previous comics and movies, with the new film being no different. It shows a man’s descent into insanity and how the wrong circumstances anyone can go mad.
The film follows middle-aged Arthur Fleck who is a shy, unconfrontational man who suffers from pathological laughter where he bursts into random fits of laughter when under stress. Fleck works as a clown for hire and is often bullied and ridiculed because of his status. As an already mentally unstable man, Arthur is tossed aside and crushed by society and the higher class of Gotham.
Arthur accidentally starts a revolution among the poor of Gotham by killing 3 higher class citizens as they assaulted him on a train. Becoming the face of this revolution empowers Arthur to embrace his insanity.
Pheonix does a flawless job expressing the madness of the Joker. From his eerie body language to his uncontrollable laughter, he plays a man grasping on to his last bits of sanity. His descent to madness is enticing, yet hard to watch. Pheonix was so dedicated to the making of the film he lost 52 pounds to look more like the clown.
“Having that level of control over yourself is liberating, but the initial weight loss was tough to handle.”
Said Joaquin Pheonix when asked about his weight loss. Phoenix went on to say:
“once you reach your target weight, I don’t know what happens, it’s incredible. You start to feel energized and excited.”
Todd Phillips’s newest adaptation of The Joker is an enticing, gripping, and moving story with a great plot and amazing actors. It is definitely a story worth watching.