login | register |


Put on a happy face 

Year: 2019 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Todd Phillips 
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro  

When Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August, it received an eight-minute standing ovation. Imagine standing up for eight minutes straight and just clapping, like how amazing must have what just happened been? What’s certain is that we’re a long way from Suicide Squad. Joker doesn’t have a complex storyline: in 1981, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), clown-for-hire by day and failed stand-up comedian by night, turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.

What Joker does have is complex characters and themes. Todd Phillips (Joker’s director) and Phoenix had both refused to be involved with superhero films in the past, the former because they were “loud” and didn’t interest him, the latter because he didn’t want to have to act in sequels. What brought them together was this unique script of a dark, standalone origin story, following DC’s efforts to deemphasise the shared nature of its Extended Universe. The film explores a suffering character that has been disregarded by society, and for some critics it is close to being a cautionary tale.

From the trailer alone Phoenix’s performance comes through as outstanding, and the critics have confirmed this after the film’s premiere. As Phillips puts it: “the goal was never to introduce Joaquin Phoenix into the comic book movie universe; the goal was to introduce comic book movies into the Joaquin Phoenix universe”. The Joker doesn’t have a definite origin story in the comics, and the writers took full advantage of this creative freedom to push themselves to make something “insane” but that felt “as authentic as possible”. This also means that Joker was crafted fully for Phoenix, and Phoenix very much makes Joker his.

I’m looking forward to seeing it, and I’m the president, so you know I’m right about this film being amazing.

Antoinette Clare

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2019/2020 Autumn Term (digital)
2019/2020 Autumn Term (digital)