The Joker: Film Review

Why the most popular film of the year is more than just another superhero story.

The Joker has probably become the most talked about film of this year. Everyone around me has either just seen it, is about to see it, or swears they will never watch it. The profits of the film have already surpassed the billion-dollar mark. What is the reason behind its enormous popularity, and can it be more than the fact it is set in the well-known and beloved DC universe?

Illustration by Rebecca Marks

The film tells the story of Arthur Fleck’s/Joker’s (Joaquin Phoenix) madness and how he became the villain that triggered the revolution in Gotham. We learn about his life in a poor district of the city, where he lives in a small and dirty apartment shared with his mother, and has a badly-paid job as a dressed-up clown. All of this is presented with dark frames, which fit the gloomy atmosphere perfectly. Even though the scenes can hardly be called conventionally beautiful, there is a picturesque quality in them. The shots of shirtless Arthur bring to mind drawings of Egon Schiele, depicting the same vulnerable and unhealthy skinny bodies.