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Todd Phillips’ new film Joker is no laughing matter. This dark, gritty, R-rated take on DC Comics’ infamous Clown Prince of Crime isn’t premiering until October 4th, but the film had its debut on Saturday, August 31st at the Venice Film Festival in Italy. So what happened when audiences finally saw Joaquin Phoenix portray the mentally unstable comedian Arthur Fleck?
Most critics agree: The film is pure magic.
According to Deadline,
“[Joker] was met with an eight-minute standing ovation and shouts of ‘Bravo!’ at its conclusion.”
Critics raced to their laptops to publish their first impressions of the film, and most reviewers were effusive in their praise. Right now, the critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes proclaims that,
“Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.”
Writing for Vital Thrills, Jenna Busch applauded Phoenix’s transformative performance as Arthur Fleck:
“The physical [movement] of the character alone could convey what is going on with him, even if there had been no dialogue. […] He’s awkward and twisted (particularly his arms and the position of his head) when he’s trying to be ‘normal.’ The little dances he does as he tries to act sexy or confident are the sort that make you embarrassed for someone at a party. As he becomes who he really is, the movements are powerful.”
Busch gave Joker a perfect score, adding,
“I’m struggling to find something to critique here. As I’ve spoken about the film to myself and my colleagues, I’ve come up with nothing. I’m sure I won’t be the only one. This standalone film was a brave choice by Warner Bros., and it’s very likely going to pay off. Again, this is a difficult film to watch, and it’s going to take time to process, but ultimately, I think this is going to be a definitive part of Joker canon.” Keep watching the video because he critics have seen Joker and this is what they’re saying.