We all knew about the Joker, but we all didn’t KNOW the Joker. Until now. Joaquin Phoenix gives a commanding performance, possibly his best performance to date, as Arthur Fleck the man who would later become the Joker. Arthur Fleck is an unhappy man. He suffers from mental illness and uncontrollable fits of laughter. He works as a clown for hire in Gotham City, and lives with and takes care of his mom, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy). When hospital funding is cut Arthur loses access to his therapist and his medication. Arthur does have dreams though and aspires to become a standup comedian, but Gotham City is a cruel place and one subway ride changes the direction of his life.
Directed by Todd Philips Joker gives us a look into the mind, and making, of the man who would become Batman’s greatest nemesis. Joker also stars Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), and Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne). It is a fantastic movie and a true representation of the Joker character. It is rated R due to violence, language, and brief sexual and disturbing images. Not for children. I give it an A+. A must-see if you are a DC Comics fan. Joker opens in theaters on 10/4/2019. (R. Barry)