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FILM REVIEW: Todd Phillips’ Joker – Shock Appeal and Ambiguous Art

Higher Mentality Staff



  • Directed by: Todd Phillips
  • Written by: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver (screenplay)
  • Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz

Todd Phillips’ Joker is a dark character study that relies on ambiguity as art and never fully commits to more than shock appeal from a story perspective. Jouquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck is a testament to the actors skill and deserves all the praise it’s been receiving in the press. Once we reach the climax, fans of the lore will enjoy arguably one of the best representations of the Joker portrayed on film to date. Unfortunately, even the Oscar worthy cinematography can’t help the non committal nature of the story. While Director Todd Philips maintains this film is a one off, Joker’s ending leaves room for interpretation. Joker’s closing sequence ends up feeling more like a Marvel Studios end credits scene rather than a finale, leaving Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck open to play in a larger cinematic Universe. This will no doubt leave fans of Phoenix’s performance excited, but challenges Director Todd Philips excruciatingly negative and hostile attitude towards the genre. You’d think the guy that made Hangover 2 and 3 when no one asked him to would be a little more understanding towards franchise mentality. We give Joker 3 out of 5 brains.

3 out of 5 Brains

Join the discussion on this week’s episode of The Mass Nerder Podcast:

The Joker Film Discussion with Rapper Mer

And read an expanded look into the Joker phenomenon here:

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