Joker has not been an ordinary film in any sense of the word. The world has embraced this dark, gritty character drama that claims to have no connection to the comic books. That is to say that this is a film based in the real world. In spite of taking up the character’s motivation from comic books, the script for Todd Philips’s Joker is original, dark and emotionally engaging. The 11 Oscar nomination (highest for any film this year) is a testament to this otherwise studio movie. It was a ballsy gamble by Warner Bros that eventually paid off. A huge success at the box office, the film is a tale of a lonely, disturbed man caged by his own demons.
The Joker screenplay – Co-written by Scott Silver and Todd Philips himself is dark and subversive. It deconstructs ever convention of a traditional superhero/supervillain picture, rewiring the Joker script as a psychological introspection of modern life. For audiences who look closely at their written text, there’s a clear indictive subtext on America’s power struggle.
Also, Read – Joker (2019) Review – A Tribute to the Lonely Man
There are a lot of things that work for the Joker screenplay. Mostly, it works because the central depiction of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) does oddly steer away from the Gotham City madman Joker. Pheonix absolutely nails the central character. There are also nods to Martin Scorsese’s films like The King Of Comedy and Taxi Driver – which depict a person’s anger towards the world they live in. The Joker script also doesn’t nudge away from keeping some secrets under wrap. Unlike most superhero pictures, the is dimly lit and procures and atmosphere that gets excessively uncomfortable.
However, the film also bows heavily on its depiction of mental illness. It is both depicted in the right and wrong lights – which doesn’t exactly count as a negative. Some critics did not dig the film where they completely destroyed it. Todd describes the major chunk of his film’s depiction of mental illness as “If you have a broken leg people hold the door open for you and you clearly have an ailment, but when you have a mental illness it’s a hidden thing so even when people know you have it they just expect you to behave as if you don’t. They don’t see it on you and often they don’t see you at all.”