And here we go: critics have seen Joker, and the initial reactions are unanimously positive.
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival today (August 31), social reactions to the Clown Prince of Crime have started to emerge online following the earlier press screening.
While DC films have a less-than-solid track record (only three out of seven previous movies are rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), it appears Joker is set for global acclaim.
There will be before Joker. And there will be after Joker. I don't know if the world is ready for this movie. Or maybe it is? It is GNARLY. It is crazy. It is audacious. It doesn't hold back. Wow. I can't believe it exists. But it does. And it's coming.
— Alex Billington @ Venice (@firstshowing) August 31, 2019
Robbie Collin, film critic for The Telegraph, kept his views on the film muted but wrote on Twitter: ‘Joker review coming this evening once the premiere’s in. In the meantime: that was a *big* round of applause.’
Check out the latest trailer below:
Film writer Radek Folta wrote on Twitter:
‘Bring in the clowns!!!’ #Joker will surprise the hell out of people. Dark, twisted, brutal origin story of the most recognised villain in popular culture. Joaquin Phoenix adds another iconic performance to his extraordinary career.
— Olivier Sarbil (@oliviersarbil) August 31, 2019
International Film Critique posted on their Twitter account that Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the Joker, cements the role ‘as one of the greatest, darkest villains in cinematic history’ and that it’s ‘the type of film that defines an actor’s career, type of role and character that comes once in a lifetime.’
Check out the first trailer below:
#Venezia76 The #Joker we fucking deserve. Rings of comedy, rings of fire. It's a circus, it's a carnival, it's a mayhem. Phoenix brings us dancing through this social disease and it's a triumph. #JokerMovie
— Lorenzo Ciorcalo (@rotovisor) August 31, 2019
Directed by Todd Phillips, the man behind The Hangover trilogy and War Dogs, Joker looks to be a ‘twisted, disturbing’ odyssey through the origin of the iconic Batman foe. The film has been rated R in the US for ‘strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language, and brief sexual images’.
The official synopsis for Joker is:
Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen.
The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
The movie is a key component of Warner Bros’ revamped DC Black initiative: they’re ditching the MCU-esque focus on a larger narrative and concentrating on making solid, individual films.
The film’s trailers hint at it being a very different beast from typical comic book fare: for example, there are clear nods to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Phillips said:
The movies that I grew up loving, these character studies from the 70s, you couldn’t get those movies made in this climate. I said to myself, ‘What if you did a movie in that vein, but made it about [comic book] characters?’
The role has seen many a famous face over the years: Jack Nicholson’s portrayal in Tim Burton’s Batman is chaotically and blackly comic, while Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning turn in The Dark Knight is, for my money, the greatest performance the world has ever seen.
Many have touted the film’s presence at the Oscars next year. The Venice Film Festival’s artistic director Alberto Barbera told Variety: ‘It’s the most surprising film we’ve got this year… this one’s going straight to the Oscars, even though it’s gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope.’
Put on a happy face: Joker hits cinemas on October 4.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.