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AVENGERS ENDGAME- will Oscar honor it?

"Hopefully not.Nothing aboutAvengers: Endgametranscends its genre.In fact,Endgameis that particular genre on steroids.LOTRmanaged to transcend its genre - Best Pic nods + Best Pic win.Harry Potterdidn't - no Best Pic nods.The Academy got it right with these two.Sometimes they get things right.And when it happens,it's a wonderful feeling."-Yavor

"I suspectEndgameis favored to get a Producers Guild nomination but a longshot for the equivalent Academy Award..."-Brevity

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Main| FYC: "Hustlers"for Best Costume Design »
Saturday
Oct 05 2019

Joker,Reviewed: An Empty Beauty Full of Anxious Laughter

Please welcome new contributor Michael Frank...

by Michael Frank

The circus aroundJokerhas been exhausting.It's been a nonstop argument between every single person that posts a positive or negative review,causing friction between subgroups you didn't even know existed.I admit I found myself having trouble separating the discourse from the film itself.I couldn't forget the unfortunate interviews given by director Todd Phillips.When I sat in the packed-to-the-brim theater,my head was filled with expectations,anxiety,and the dozens of headlines,articles,and think-pieces I've read over the past few weeks.

I've never seen a film provide so much discourse outside the screen,yet feel this empty and broken once it's playing in the confines of a theater.Jokeris gorgeous,though,and unrelenting in its violence and instability,by way of both the titular character and its striking visuals...

It's uncomfortable,doling out plenty of anxiety via Phoenix's physical portrayal of Arthur Fleck to an audience desperate to find empathy in his decisions.I found myself checking the exits more often than I'd like to admit and each noise was being treated with the utmost concern.The movie was forgettable,while the experience was far from that.

Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of this Batman villain's origin story is mesmerizing,though.He fills up every scene with initial subtlety and follows that up with pure anger,frustration,and sadness.Fleck's mental illness is on full display,even if the screenplay isn't giving it proper attention.Phoenix's commitment to the role is evident by both the weight loss and the emotional weight.He's likely to receive an Oscar nomination in return.

The violence in the movie isn't the sort of big blow-up or cosmic gunfights of other big-budget action films,superhero variety or otherwise.Every death feels up-close and personal like we are in the room,and the effect is one of shock,not understanding.The violence lacks a tactness,or empathy yet Phillips wants us to be feeling for this man,stepping into the streets with him,fighting his good fight.It's true that I couldn't look away,and he should be given credit for that.


My fellow theatre-goers clapped when the Joker killed and laughed whenthe herolaughed his high pitched cackle.The Joker isn't a hero,though,and this origin story doesn't change that.He's a mentally ill man with a past rife with abuse and neglect.Giving him this story feels like Phillips is trying to send a message,trying to make a movie that hits with impact,but the only impact was from the grit,the violence,and the commitment of Phoenix,not the character's supposed evolution.

Jokergrapples with mental illness,a tough topic to cover,an important one to cover.The film grapples with it but is always reaching for the next ledge,the next rock,and slips and falls.It doesn't give depth to the illness,only to say that Arthur was abused.It doesn't dive into his daily sadness,pain,or troubles.It pins this situation all on an absent government in the form of Thomas Wayne and in an absent mother in Penny Fleck.The message doesn't seem clear,then.How do we solve these problems and how do we give credence to what mentally ill people are saying and feeling?Phillips doesn't give any solutions,nor does he try.He's only in the business of blame.He moves the story along with a killing and a new thirst for attention by way of violence.

As a result the movie feels void of meaning and consequence,slapped together with a rockstar in Phoenix and stunning cinematography,but falling flat due to a shoddy script and a failure to resonate.This movie,one that's dominating the box office,social media,and the film world,is just another comic book story that didn't need to be told.

For some,the Joker origin might be enough.For me,it was an empty promise masquerading as a beautiful story.And all masquerades must come to an end.

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Reader Comments (1)

I absolutely loved it.Lucrecia Martel was right.

October 5,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

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