The dance of the madman.
Is the insidious dripping of water that finally drives you insane.
Is akin to slowly painting on a mask in wide, calculated brush strokes.
His reality remains skewed and sharp and sour.
Comes from a long festering narcissism.
Is fueled by fear and devastation, longing and loss, abuse and pain.
He’s alone and aware of it.
He’s had enough, and then he snaps.
Joker (2019) is a slow building crack in one man’s glass persona. So intensely introverted, the long-suffering soldier, son. Arthur says he feels he never existed until people started taking notice of his first acts of violence. Now people see him and smile, or better, they fight. He becomes the hero he’s always dreamed of being.
The smile motif also carries through into the classic crying clown, ever masking true emotion with a painted expression.
His small world shatters slowly, in tiny pricks to his subconscious that he fights until he has little fight left.
Therein lied the fear of the fateful masses who watched this color-soaked film on its first weekend of play as I did. He is anyone with a long-laden life of abuse and neglect. He’s the potential product of his poverty, of an angry society a-smoke with crime fascination.
Joaquin plays the role of a lifetime, memorable, wrenching, wicked, vain. He really lives it and we are left leering at his laugh-lines as they deepen.
He is to blame for his crimes, yet we can take up the mantle as caregivers for our neighbors, help them people feel seen, show all a kindness, so-called deserving or not.
Only the children in this film have time for him. They look without judgement beyond the mask into his childlike eyes blurred by abuse.
It’s a dance on a triple tiered stair and a late night subway ride. Joker’s loner journey of broken dreams and bad luck becomes a midnight rampage of death-tolled insanity. You never would have known that this writer /director also made The Hangover. The Hangover, then this.
RATING: R (for raw & rough, and for remind me to pick up a psych text book and read it next time instead of sitting again through this exhaustingly tragic film)