A drama/thriller starring A-list actor Joaquin Phoenix. The Joker is none to many movie and DC Comic fans as the arch enemy of Batman. The writers do their best to put together a story line for new audience members to understand, realize and somewhat sympathize for who this character really is. The character of Joker is named Arthur Fleck a lonely, damaged man eking out an abject living as a clown-for-hire and living in a drab apartment with his mother. Phillips in Gotham City, when work was scarce, rats were rampant and a garbage strike fouled the streets. Fleck is bullied by thieving poor kids and drunken rich guys, goaded to the point of murder by the meanness of the world. He has a crush on a neighbor that he thinks might be reciprocated. He keeps a notebook full of stand-up material and works up the nerve to go onstage at a nightclub open-mic night. Skinny, twitchy and at times startlingly graceful — Phoenix is one of the modern screen’s underrated dancers. He carries the burden of being a victimized Everyman in a parable that can’t get its story straight. Arthur’s uncontrollable laughter arises from a medical condition that is possibly the result of childhood abuse. His profound alienation also arises from social inequality, the decline of civility, political corruption, television, government bureaucracy and a slew of other causes. Overall I give this film a C-. A dark story line that seems to go nowhere, events that don’t properly connect masked my Joaquin Phoenix laughter, dancing and lunacy, which becomes quite redundant at times. Depending on the personality watching this film, you will either like it or hate it. It’s a film I suggest watching when full of energy or early in the day. The darkness of the film and the lack of action to match makes it drag and feel about 20 minutes too long in my opinion. Definitely a film that can wait for a cable release but one of that many true Batman or comic fans should see at one point or another.
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