The incredible box office success of Joker movie comes with a certain irony for a film so inspired by New Hollywood.
New Hollywood is this period of American cinema where directors start making small or medium-budget films that are part of a counter-culture, contrasting sharply with the pharaonic budgets of the big Hollywood machines of previous years, and achieve unexpected public successes for this genre of films, resulting in an entire decade where audiences flock to the cinema to see films where “people in costume speak in the dark” to use Coppola’s famous phrase to describe the Godfather.
Joker movie critic
In view of the success of Todd Philips’ film at a reasonable budget compared to recent blockbusters, it is hoped that this Joker movie will pave the way for a “Hollywood revival”.
Joker even opens up on the old Warner logo (the one that was used from 1972 to 1984), immediately marking the grim aesthetic typical of those years, and unfolds like a character study that’s not unlike a few. films from the period like Midnight Cowboy (a film filled with lost people who are reminiscent of Arthur Fleck) but above all two films by Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy (by Niro taking the place of Lewis here).
But Joker movie is not just a nostalgic trip for a bygone period as its subject is anchored in our time by speaking of the ever-growing disparity between rich and poor, by pinning the current politco-economic discourse of the elites to through the figure of Thomas Wayne, who looks like a clever mix of Trump and Macron.
The film, in an obvious parallel with the society in which we operate, tends a mirror and drives the point home: cuts in social assistance budgets and a whole section of society that we have abandoned will inevitably end up generating all kinds of monstrosities on this fertile ground that is misery.
It’s quite startling to see the similarities between the demonstrations of the citizens of Gotham dressed as clowns, and other mass citizen movements that can be observed in France or elsewhere at the moment.
However, beyond the question of the collective responsibility of society in the creation of its own monsters, the film is more about the study of a character sinking into madness than political fire.
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And what a character! Joaquin Phoenix has mastered his subject matter and is as touching in some scenes as he is disturbing in others, he is as empathetic as he is disgusted.
And then, this laugh which seems to physically hurt Arthur Fleck and which is an integral part of the character’s panoply, this laugh therefore, is particularly well found and perfectly defines the character, not of the Joker in general, but of him in particular.
In short, a role to the disproportion of this talented actor.
In the end, Joker movie is a successful film, even if it is not without some flaws or without some elements that are sometimes too heavily supported, both in its purpose and in its staging. And if it is true that I am less enthusiastic than the average, I am delighted with the success of a film which places the characters above the effects and which one hopes to see to be emulated in the future.
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