“Joker” is definitely a blockbuster cast in true Wagnerian style with a bombastic music soundtrack mostly provided by a single huge a-rthymic drum doing its best to keep you awake and aware that this was (by God) Important! As far I was concerned, however I, iconoclast that I am, found the first hour to be mostly turgid melodramatic tripe; where each plot point was belaboured to the point of death and, to be on the safe side, repeated louder for the dimwitted.
If he first three-quarters of the film drag, their point is simple; the vicissitudes of life drive a comparatively normal chap round the bend and turning him into a dangerous out-and-out-nutter. Common stuff, it happens every day, in fact the world’s looney bins are crammed to popping with such people and it is of course tragic that our hero is pushed well beyond the point of no return by a culture that is itself largely sociopathic, having fed on its own toxicity to the point where the tortured victims have turned on each other in a dystopian hell-on-earth.
There is no question of it. Americans know how badly buggered up their own steociety is – and in a state of purposefully induced ignorance think that the whole world is inthe same sta and in a spirit of sharing they set about the spreading of these cheery damn melodramas that always end with a dash of the old ultraviolent and lashings of their obsession with guns. In this though “Joker” is different. While to be sure thereis violence aplenty , “Joker” shows its true identity lateras an even blacker re-make of Martin Scorsese’s 1982 classic “The King of Comedy” – a major reference that I would guess only a tiny percentage of “Joker”’s target demographic would notice, or care about. But for older more cinematically educated viewers it is, as in jokes go, a mammoth in the room that everyone seems to be ignoring. The harder one looks, the easier it becomes to see that “Joker” is simply a remake of that earlier film, perhaps better, perhaps not, suffice to say the world has changed since 1982, and the “Joker” is a surprisingly decent product for 2019. Far from perfect, but surprisingly suspenseful, with a very respectable script, camera work and technicals showing Joachim Phoenix’s over-the-top character and bravura performance to their very best advantage. And if you feel this review seems negative most of the way through, and finishes positive, that is exactly how I felt about “Joker” -for much of its run time I felt I was watching bombastic overblown shit; Then, abruptly, it switched gears on me, & I decided I liked it