‘Joker’ movie premieres in theaters

Dani Almase, Pulse Co-Editor

From Jack Nicholson in the first theatrical “Batman” in 1989, to the iconic Heath Ledger in the 2008 “Dark Night”, to Jared Leto in the juvenile “Suicide Squad”, the villain Joker has been portrayed by many different and famous actors. However, none of them compare to Joaquin Phoenix’s outstanding performance in the 2019 “Joker” movie.

My $16.49 ticket on opening night was worthwhile due to the fact that the movie’s beautifully intriguing plot leaves you with chills as you exit the theater.

“Joker” is set in the 1980s and takes place in the DC comic setting of Gotham City. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a failed comedian who works as a clown in the streets. He lives in a small, old apartment where he takes care of his sick mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy). Arthur suffers from mental health issues such as depression and an odd condition where he laughs uncontrollably in inappropriate situations.

Also, Arthur’s peculiar actions and atypical appearance leads him to be constantly ridiculed and humiliated by society and the outside world. The consistent negativity Arthur experiences eventually deteriorates his humanity into becoming the physiological insane villain, Joker. The plot explores the origin story of someone degenerating into evil. The “Joker” is a rated R film that was released on Oct. 4. The crime thriller is directed by Todd Phillips and runs at a time of 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Throughout the movie, there are many plot twists and shocks that make viewers second guess everything. References to how Bruce Wayne became the hero Batman, the reason why Joker became who he was at the end and how Gotham city spiraled into devastation will make you sit in suspense because you are not sure what will happen next.

The reason why the film was so great was because of Phoenix’s performance. Phoenix personified the sinister villain in the best way possible. From the eerie laugh to small gestures and facial expressions, Phoenix not only portrayed the original character, but he took the character to a whole new dark level. He made it seem that the morality and humanness of Arthur Fleck completely diminish as he becomes the Joker.

According to the website news.com.au, in order to become the Joker, “Phoenix studied a book about the psychology of assassins, and drastically changed his shirt size, losing more than 22kg [48.5 pounds] for the role.”

“(Weight loss) has a drastic effect on you not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well when you enter into that starvation mode,” Phoenix said to the Toronto Sun.

Furthermore, the plotline of the film was so vile that at the end of the movie, my psyche was terrified and twisted. The movie itself is not violent, bloody or gruesome, but is it so dark that the mind can’t process what happened. I’ve never seen so many people stay after the movie for the credits in a theater before. Everyone there was asking each other what happened at the end. The plot will leave you asking questions, which can be seen as negative or positive aspect depending on the person.

Bottom line: the 2019 “Joker” movie will leave you with goosebumps and an uneasy, sickening feeling in your stomach. If you are looking for a Halloween terror this October, I urge the public to witness the petrifying performance of Joaquin Phoenix.

4/5 paws