Whoever had doubts that Todd Phillips could carry the weight of DC’s most iconic villain, shall worry no more. Because the opinions, flooding today from Venice, say with one accord – “Joker” is a masterpiece.
Joker is one hell of a burden to face. When Jack Nicholson nailed the Crown Prince of Crime back in Tim Burton’s wildly successful “Batman” from 1989, audiences could not imagine anyone else top Nicholson.
But we all know how the story goes. Heath Ledger, cast for Christopher Nolan’s genre-redefining epos “The Dark Knight”, carved out some of the most iconic lines of modern cinema, bringing a malevolent, chaotic and rage-fueled Joker to the screen.
More than ten years after Ledger’s phenomenal performance, the new Joker arrives (permit me to silently leave Jared Leto out of the discussion), with the face of Joaquin Phoenix.
The film went through hell, from initial doubts that Todd Phillips, best known for scoring big time with “Hangover”, was the right person to do the job. Then, many felt so bonded with Ledger’s legacy that even such renown name as Phoenix wasn’t enough to justify a new film about the villain.
Okay, but is Joker (2019) good? What do people say?
After months of speculation, “Joker” premiered today at the Venice Film Festival. Fans of Joker will probably be over the moon because the opinions about Phillips’ movie are widely positive. Many critics chortled with glee when it comes to Phoenix, the cinematography and the gritty vibe of the film.
Here Phoenix is just extraordinary, always dancing and posing, often topless, working that oddly lumpy, peculiarly hard to outline body, so wasted that his muscles and bones are bulging right there beneath the skin. His face seems a similarly both very strongly defined and yet unnervingly plastic, sometimes fiercely concentrated, sometimes completely distorted in a mad grin.Source: Standard.co.uk
Variety has also found “Joker” to be a fantastic piece of filmmaking. And its impact will be crucial as a social commentary:
Many have asked, and with good reason: Do we need another Joker movie? Yet what we do need — badly — are comic-book films that have a verité gravitas, that unfold in the real world, so that there’s something more dramatic at stake than whether the film in question is going to rack up a billion-and-a-half dollars worldwide.Source: Variety
And here are a few tweets right after the premiere:
Is there any negative reception concerning Joker (2019)
As usual, there are those who found the film not so great. A well-established site Roger Ebert commented that the film too often reaches out for all-time classics like “Taxi Driver”, but also hinting that the film has rather little to say in the bigger picture:
As social commentary, “Joker” is pernicious garbage. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year.Source: rogerebert.com
TIME magazine was also displeased with “Joker”.
The movie’s cracks — and it’s practically all cracks — are stuffed with phony philosophy. Joker is dark only in a stupidly adolescent way, but it wants us to think it’s imparting subtle political or cultural wisdom.Source: TIME Magazine
“Joker” (2019) will premiere in less than two months and the film’s an obviously a natural Oscar contender. And the review from Cultural Hater will arrive soon so stay tuned!