I’m hesitant to guarantee that Joker is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, but I will, this movie is unforgettable, for all the right reasons. It’s at times horrifying and might make you look away but you can’t deny is brilliance.

Gotham city is grimy and disturbing, it’s a cesspool of grey and corruption, muggings and murders, it’s a city on the brink of collapse, garbage piles and graffiti everywhere, its overrun by not just rats but super rats, there’s a vast divide between the haves and have nots.

Thomas Wayne vows to save the city, a businessman turned politician who is running for mayor, he has a young son Bruce who would go on to become Batman.

Watching Wayne on TV making campaign promises is Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix). He makes a meager living as a daytime clown, entertaining sick hospital kids and tourists; he lives with his mother (Frances Conroy) in a dank apartment. He has aspirations to be a stand up comic, all he wants is kindness and to make people smile.

But in a decaying city all he gets is violence and a society that takes advantage of him, his mind is already fragile through a medical condition where he shrieks in laughter in uncomfortable situations, this feeds his mental instability.

Through the violence around him and his own poor decisions he starts to deteriorate mentally, acting more erratic and having delusions, he questions what is real and what isn’t, it’s a downward spiral of the mind.

Whatever good intentions he has are eroding and soon he wants revenge and anarchy, he ends up becoming a man with nothing to lose. At night with his mother they watch a late night TV talk show and love the host, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), it’s a show Arthur longs to be on to further his comedy career, their paths will cross in a way that will change everything.

Director Scott Phillips keeps the pace up but let’s the audience fully understand Arthurs mental decline in showing step by bloody step, it’s also beautifully shot by Lawrence Cher who captures the true hell of Gotham.

The performance of Joaquin Phoenix as he morphs into the Joker is mesmerising. The hope that turns to sadness, the running, the dancing, his gaunt face and contorted body all match his scrambled mind, its a defining performance from Phoenix.

This movie at times bludgeons you, there is no nuance, when Arthur Fleck fully transforms into the Joker its so vile and disturbing its unforgettable. This movie isn’t for everyone but it is a masterpiece.

hallymustang rating : 🎥🎥🎥🎥🎞 4.5/5

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