BALANCE_OCTOBER_2019 - 63

C U LT

URE

O C TO B E R

THE ONE
THING
THIS
MONTH
TO TOP
YO U R T O
DO LIST

tears of a clown

2 0 1 9

B A L A N C E . M E D I A

FUNNY PECULIAR

No wonder Joaquin Phoenix's Joker is an early front runner for Oscar glory

WORDS James Gill

T

here was much gnashing of teeth when it was announced
that the director of the Hangover trilogy was making
a Joker origin story. Proof, if it were needed, that
message boards and social media are often best ignored.
That's because Todd Phillips' film has more in common with
the deliciously dark and gritty films of the 1970s and early 1980s
(think Dog Day Afternoon, The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver) than
the Spandex-clad superhero films you pretend you're bored of
(box-office takings suggest we're not that bored).
Joaquin Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck, someone who seemingly
cannot catch a break. As life seems to be always laughing at -
rather than with - Fleck, something eventually gives to make for a
crescendo that has left audiences speechless.

Phoenix is being lauded for one of the finest performances
of a mercurial career and is the early favourite to finally win the
Academy Award. Having lost 52lbs for the role, he is one of the
few actors who can evoke true pity one moment, before having you
squirming with repulsion in your seat the next.
And if ever a film was set to break the comic-book hoodoo
when it comes to winning the Best Picture Oscar, Joker may be it.
Because, while there are enough nudges to keep comic book fans
happy, this is a film for those who prefer Coppola to capes. Joker
is especially great news as it means filmmakers are now going to
really have to deliver if they're to match something as special as
Todd Phillips' latest. So, who's laughing now?
Joker is currently playing in cinemas nationwide

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