Phoenix’s candid performance makes Joker

Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix, dances on the stairs of Gotham City.

Katie Kerrigan

Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix, dances on the stairs of Gotham City.

Turner Demers, Staff Writer

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The majorly hyped Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix is a masterpiece worth seeing twice. 

Phoenix’s role as Arthur Fleck provides a stunning performance, as he endures physical and emotional beat downs for the entire two hours and two-minute run time. In the first scene, Fleck pulls his mouth into a smile in full face paint with tears rolling down his cheeks. His creepy smile sets the tone for the entirety of the movie.

The film is set in 1981, in a crumbling Metropolis that sets the perfect stage for a villain to arise. Garbage covers the streets in every scene, businesses continue to shut down, and crime runs wild in the city which cannot be put on the right path. Social services, like Fleck’s therapy and medical prescriptions, are cut by the government in order to save the city from financial ruin. This allows Fleck to truly embrace his troubled personality. 

As Fleck transforms from Gotham City’s punching bag to the deranged Joker, this role required complete commitment. Fleck’s mental illness makes him difficult to watch due to his compulsive laughter in uncomfortable situations, repulsive malnourished figure, and the toxic relationship he shares with his mother.

Joker is an instant classic in the storied history of the super-villain from Gotham City. This masterful movie provides an origin story of sorts for the clown prince of crime. Joker shows how the dynamics of the city pushed this man to his absolute limits, whereas other movies simply introduce a psychotic villain and provided no evidence as to how they became that way. This film raked in 247 million dollars during its opening weekend, a new record for motion pictures released in the month of October. As of November 6, the movie is the highest grossing rated R movie of all time and is on pace to become the first billion dollar rated R movie.

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