Joker (2019 film)

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Joker 2019 film.jpg
"How about another joke, Mur-ray? What do you get... when you cross... a mentally ill loner with a SOCIETY that ABANDONS HIM AND TREATS HIM LIKE TRASH?! I'll tell you what you get, YOU GET WHAT YOU FUCKING DESERVE!!!"
Genre: Crime
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Produced by: Todd Phillips
Bradley Cooper
Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Written by: Todd Phillips
Scott Silver
Based on: Characters by DC Comics
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix
Robert De Niro
Zazie Beetz
Frances Conroy
Cinematography: Lawrence Sher
Editing: Jeff Groth
Music by: Hildur Guðnadóttir
Production company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Bron Creative
Joint Effort
DC Films
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date: August 31, 2019 (Venice)
October 4, 2019 (United States)
Runtime: 122 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $55–70 million
Box office: $1.079 billion[1][2]
Sequel: Joker: Folie à Deux

Joker is a 2019 American psychological crime thriller film directed and produced by Todd Phillips (who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver). The film, which is based on DC comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker and provides an alternative origin story for the character. Joker was produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, and Joint Effort, in association with Bron Creative and Village Roadshow Pictures, and distributed by Warner Bros. Joker is intended to launch "DC Black", a series of DC-based standalone films and premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, where it won the Golden Lion, and was released in the United States on October 4, 2019.

A sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, is set for release on October 4, 2024; its teaser trailer was uploaded on April 9, 2024.[3][4][5]


In 1981, party clown and aspiring stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck (portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix) lives with his ailing mother, Penny (portrayed by Frances Conroy), in Gotham City. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving swathes of the population disenfranchised and impoverished. Arthur suffers from severe mental conditions as well as a disorder that causes him to laugh uncontrollably. Due to his various psychological disorders and introverted nature, Fleck is continuously bullied and beaten to the ground by society, causing his fragile mental stability to decline until he goes insane and becomes a serial killer named "The Joker", determined to make Gotham City laugh again in his own twisted and violent way.

Why Arthur Became Joker

  1. For a psychological thriller, it's a great take on mental illness, bullying, and how it affects the victim suspensefully, showing why bullying is obviously a bad thing.
  2. The film draws inspiration from classic films with similar themes, such as The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver.
    • Robert De Niro's casting as talk show host Murray Franklin is fitting, given his role in The King of Comedy and Phoenix's role as the Joker is almost a mirror reflection of De Niro's role as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.
  3. Unlike other DC films that try too hard to be edgy, Joker manages to be dark and serious by doing it correctly, and the film's dark tone helps the narrative.
  4. Joaquin Phoenix does amazing at playing the Joker; his performance is extremely flawless and beautiful. While Heath Ledger did a great job with the Joker in The Dark Knight, Phoenix's performance is as great as the former, if perhaps even better. Just like Ledger, he earned an Academy Award for his performance and portrayal of the character.
  5. Arthur Fleck is a very compelling, tragic, and likable character; he goes through a ton of difficult stuff in his life, like bullying. He also has a ton of character development as he transforms into the Joker. His struggles also make the viewers want to be thrown into his world to experience how he was treated badly.
    • It also works with his mental illness, as it sometimes makes it harder for the viewer to know whether the events he's experiencing are real or not.
    • The narrative also accurately portrays how his mental health progressively worsens through the film, as he stars in the film as a sympathetic tragic person who continuously becomes even more violent until he becomes a truly terrible person and a killer.
    • Arthur's conditions make him a sympathetic victim, but his actions are still criminal, and the film appropriately paints him as a villain.
    • What also makes him a villain for the comics is that he kills people for valid reasons, such as not being nice to him; this also includes the three Gotham Wall Street men that he killed on the subway because they were beating him until Arthur got his self-defense out by killing them with a gun.
  6. The musical score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is awesome, particularly when Arthur dances in the bathroom, giving the dance a haunting, sinister, and beautiful theme.
  7. The famous scene where the Joker dances down West 167 Street's steps to the tune of "Rock and Roll Part 2" before he gets chased by the cops is amazing, and shortly after its release, said stairs became a tourist attraction.
  8. Also, the scene where the poster is chosen is well-shot and creative; using the aforementioned famous dance is shown with the step stairs.
  9. It spreads a strong message on hatred, unfair class systems, the dangers of long-term suppression of emotions, abuse towards the mentally ill, and many other issues with how Arthur is treated horribly by society, and his ever-degrading mental state. It also talks about how cruel people can be to others.
  10. The famous scene where the Joker is on Murray Franklin's talk show and goes on a lengthy rant about how society abandoned him and treated him like trash before pulling out a gun and blowing a hole through Franklin's head, all is disturbing yet exciting. In, fact, everything he says to Murray on the live show is actually correct, and it's the perfect example on why bullying is a never a good thing.
    • Regarding the aforementioned scene, the famous quote: "How about another joke, Mur-ray? What do you get... when you cross... a mentally ill loner with a SOCIETY that ABANDONS HIM AND TREATS HIM LIKE TRASH?! I'll tell you what you get, YOU GET WHAT YOU FUCKING DESERVE!!!"... enough said.
  11. Besides that one famous quote, there are other phenomenal quotes as well:
    • "Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?"
    • "I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a fucking comedy."
    • "When you bring me out, can you introduce me as Joker?"
  12. While the violent moments are infrequent; however, when they do happen, they're intense and disturbing enough to make the viewer feel uncomfortable with the psychological implications behind the extremely intense and bloody violence. This shows that you can make a well-written film with enough violence to upset the viewers due to its blood and behavior.
  13. At the end of the film, we see Bruce Wayne's parents being gunned down by one of the Joker's fans, allowing us to glimpse Bruce Wayne before he became Batman.
  14. The part where the Joker does a bloody smile is touching and beautiful; the crowd cheering in that scene makes it even more touching.
  15. The film has some funny moments without overshadowing the dark tone, such as when the Joker cracks an incredibly inappropriate joke on Murray Franklin's talk show about a woman's son being run over and killed by a drunk driver.
  16. While the film is supposed to be dark, there are some heartwarming moments, like when Arthur cheers up the kid on the bus.
  17. At the beginning, it uses the old Warner Bros. ("Big W") logo from the 1980s, fitting with the period the film is set in.
  18. It's a very different take on a comic-based film, presenting it less as an action blockbuster and more as a character study, and it's refreshing to see how it worked well.
  19. Todd Phillips, the director of this film, captures the charm of his films, but instead of comedy (e.g. The Hangover), it's a crime drama thriller, which worked amazingly at its true potential.
  20. The cinematography is perfect, to the point that it was nominated for best cinematography at the 92nd Academy Awards. It also feels like one shot was needed to make the film, and the scenes are sharply vivid thanks to the help of the cinematography that does everything to make its picture at its best.


Critical and audience response

While Joker polarized critics, it received widespread acclaim from audiences. Although Phoenix's performance, direction, editing, musical score, and cinematography were heavily praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illnesses, and graphic violence divided opinions and generated concerns of inspiring real-world violence; the movie theater where the 2012 Aurora, Colorado mass shooting occurred during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises refused to show it out of respect for the victims.[6][7]

Chris Stuckmann gave the film an "A-" rating,[8] Jeremy Jahns gave it an "Awesometcular" rating,[9] and featured it in his list of the Best Movies of 2019.[10]

Box office

Joker became a major box office success and set records for an October release. It was the first ever R-rated film to gross over $1 billion worldwide[1][2] and became the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2019 (managing to outgross Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by over $105,000).[11] It is also the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.[12]

Awards and nominations

Joker has been nominated for and won multiple awards, including the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. It earned eleven nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography, but it lost to Parasite and 1917. However, it won Best Actor in a Leading Role for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Original Score.


  • Martin Scorsese was originally about to produce the film but backed out on that.[13]
  • This was the first film to debut the new Village Roadshow Pictures logo, although the logo is still at the end.



External links


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