Already tipped for Oscar glory following its Golden Lion win in Venice, Joker is sure to be one of the most debated films of the fall. It’s a bold reinvention of the classic Batman villain that is transgressive up to a point but tips its hat so heavily to Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy that you wonder what Martin Scorsese could have accomplished had he been in the director’s chair. Lawrence Sher’s evocative cinematography works in perfect unison with Hildur Guðnadóttir’s darkly mournful cello-heavy score, and it’s a shame that Todd Phillips’ rather anonymous direction never rises to their level. The one-man-show from Joaquin Phoenix is quite something though; the way he straggles and contorts his wiry, protruding limbs is hypnotizing. So, while Joker is not quite the tour de force many hoped for, Phoenix does have the last laugh as the cackling anti-hero.
Joker | Directed by Todd Phillips (US 2019) with Joaquin Phoenix. Starts Oct 10.
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