Why ‘Joker’ Is About All of Us (Column)

Variety | 10/20/2019 | Owen Gleiberman
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Click For Photo: https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/joker-copy.jpg?w=700&h=393&crop=1

Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s poetic because of what it means.

Arthur Fleck, wearing his full-on Joker regalia for the first time (rust suit, orange vest, smeary clown make-up, green hair), turns his face toward the sky as if smiling at a higher power. It’s a moment of worship; his posture and gaze are ecstatic. But it’s also as pure an image of a madman as Leatherface twirling his chainsaw in the dawn light at the end of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” Arthur is one sick puppy, a geek who uses fake laughter and fake smiles to conceal his unfathomable despair (and to billboard it too, since the fakery is so over-the-top that he’s really saying, I know this isn’t fooling you). But now, at this righteous moment, a current is running through him, something that has jolted him awake. With his face turned upward, he seems to be receiving a life force from above. He has embraced the dark side and seen the light. He has touched the liberating power of his hate.

Wonder - Antihero - Comic-book - Film - Years

No wonder he’s the antihero of the greatest American comic-book film in years, as well as the movie that has struck the richest and most unsettling popular chord of 2019.

Movies have always shown us who we are, but that doesn’t mean that dynamic has to be literal. I’m not the gunslinging hero of a Western, or the striving mistress of a plantation called Tara, or a motorcycle-riding rebel without a cause, or a New York street hustler...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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