Let´s go back 30 years in time, to the year of 1990. I was 12 years old, and i remember my Uncle told me about the film Batman he have seen in a cinema from director Tim Burton. And i remember how impressed he was by Jack Nicholson who played The Joker. I did see the film as the film was released on VHS that year. And i have to say, even if Michael Keaton was really good as Batman, it became clear that Jack Nicholson stole the show with his magical performance as The Joker. There was something very fascinating about this comic book character, something mysterious. I did come across The Joker in the comic book store, that used to be Downtown in my hometown. But i never really cared much about the Batman comic books, so the films became more interesting. I think the biggest reason why Jack Nicholson was such a perfect choice for this character, is because he knew how to act insane, especially from his cult classic film One Flew Over The Cuckoo´s Nest. There are so many scenes in this film, where Nicholson shines so Bright as The Joker, in so many ways. Just the way he express his feelings, facial expressions and that magical smile. If you have not seen the 1989 film Batman from director Tim Burton, you should see it to experience the performance from Jack Nicholson. It would take some time before we got to see The Joker again in a Batman film ( not the nominated films, there are plenty of ones ), until the year of 2008. This was the year when the big budget film The Dark Knight was released from director Christopher Nolan. An enormous success in the Batman franchise, when actor Christian Bale returned as Batman. But it was the performance of actor Heath Ledger who made this film unique, as The Joker. What an incredible performance Heath gave into this role, his best performance ever. When i heard that amazing actor Joaquin Phoenix ( who i especially enjoyed in the fantastic film You Were Never Really Here ) was going to play The Joker in a new film, i was really excited. Is this the best film portrait of the iconic comic book character so far, or is Joker not as good as i was hoping for ?
In Gotham City, struggling comedian Arhtur Fleck ( Joaquin Phoenix ) is disregarded and mistreated by society. He tries to get diffent jobs dressed up as a clown, but nothing is going the way he has planned. Life is tough, and he lives at home with his old mother Penny Fleck ( Frances Conroy ) who needs help with her condition. The only light Arthur has, is to try and become a stand up comedian and end up at the popular TV show with Murray Franklin ( Robert De Niro ). When Arthur suddenly one night murder three young men in the subway, he is beginning to change into a completely different personality. And no matter what it takes, he will be in the spotlight of The Murray Franklin Show.
I had a feeling that Joker would be a unique film. And the biggest reason to that is the performance of Joaquin Phoenix. This is without a doubt one of the best performances he has ever given to us so far, and he knocks you out with his powerful body language and face expressions. But that´s not all, because this film clearly want to show you how a mentally ill person can behave, and turn into a monster. The biggest difference with this film and other films with comic book characters, is that this film does not try and be an ordinary comic book movie. This is more about the person behind the make up, and why he became the man we all know as the Joker. When you think about his background, and how he lived as a child with his mother, it is not strange this would all affect him. Especially when he finds out the truth about his mother´s history. I have to mention the performance of actress Frances Conroy ( who some of you might remember from the 2010 film Stone ), as Arthur´s mother Penny. Frances manage to give us a portrait of a woman, who clearly is in need of her only son Arhtur. Legendary actor Robert De Niro gives a really strong performance as TV host Murray ( reminded me a bit of his classic film King Of Comedy ). Interesting fact, both Frances and Robert De Niro both worked together on the film Stone, so nice to see them both again in this film. Joker is not a film for you if you are expecting big comic book fights, a lot of special effects and different super heroes. This is a film that focuses on the dark side of a personality, and how you struggle with a mental illness. Director Todd Philips ( who previously have directed a lot of comedies such as The Hangover trilogy ) have made a film that will affect you on so many levels. He knows how to tell a story of a story of a man, who is falling apart. Joaquin Phoenix, thank you for giving us one of the strongest performances in a film for many years. Joker will go down as one of the few films that really gives you an honest portrait on how mental illness can look like. A must see for everyone out there.