Todd Phillips and Scott Silver‘s take on one of television and the silver screen’s most debilitating antagonists, ‘Joker’, is the very definition of a ride on the wild side.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker, the film is a not-so-subtle take on the intricately disturbing beginnings that shaped the sadistic existence and actions of Gotham City’s crime syndicate creme.
As fate would have it, his life begins, more accurately would continue, to fall apart in a rather rapid series of unfortunate events, and he finally snaps. With all restraint perfunctorily dissipated, it’s astonishing to see the rise to fame of Arthur, from someone who does not matter, to one of the most important people in a city that’s grappling with its fledgling identity of industry, crime and dissatisfaction.
In the middle of the chaos, there are instances of hope and redemption however, as the Joker finds someone who can tolerate his quirkiness, perhaps to tame his insatiable needs.
It was rather quirky to me to see Sophie Dumond as Arthur’s love interest, purely because I’ve been conditioned to match Joker to Harley Quinn, who by the way will feature in her own origin story ‘Birds of Prey’, early next year.
It’s quite some powerful imagery of the dissent a population that has for long tolerated governance and systems, but will no longer take things lying down – kind of like how Arthur himself was comfortable with an honest living all his life, until he could take it all no more, and something just mentally unpacked him to the possibilities of more.
The ‘more’ happened to be a frightening dark execution of his most primal existence.
One of my biggest questions however is, if Arthur was that advanced in age in the origin story, what superpowers does he possess to still be Batman’s most formidable opponent in his adult life?
‘Joker’ may be an uncomfortable watch, but one that explores the depths to which, when misguided, wronged or aggrieved, individuals or society may go to have their voices heard. The consequences, however, tend to spark a system of resistance, and the emergence of a mighty caped defender.