Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” tells an origin story of how a mentally ill loner named Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) ends up becoming Batman’s most well-known arch-nemesis. The movie is disturbing and Intense, yet absolutely brilliant and for a comic-book movie, “Joker” certainly pushes buttons — gun violence, income inequality, health care, you name it — to the point that it has raised concerns that it might inspire other lone-wolf types to commit real-world violence. The film does make a compelling case of a deeply disturbed individual struggling to find a coping mechanism that ends up being an unhinged alter ego that can’t be ignored in today’s society.
Joaquin Phoenix’s take on Arthur Fleck is gripping, he takes the portrayal to another level by giving his all when it comes to playing the previously institutionalized, mentally ill man who is on several medications, and works a crappy job to pay the bills as he tries to figure out how to be a stand-up comedian. Maybe you’ll recognize his portrayal of this character; he could be you or someone you know. So make no mistake, “Joker” is a dark, disturbing psychological character study that exists in a bleak, unsympathetic world much like ours.