Joker early reactions: Joaquin Phoenix shines in 'Todd Phillips' grippingly atmospheric supervillain origin story'
Joker will also be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, before releasing in the US on 4 October.
Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2019 on 31 August. The standalone film follows Arthur Fleck and his descent into madness. Joker also stars Zazie Beetz, Rober De Niro, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham.
Phoenix had revealed that the film strays from the DC supervillain's storyline, which may disappoint or anger fans. Phillips had explained that the plot is more about how Joker becomes the man he came to be. Joker will also be showcased at Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival before opening in US theatres on 4 October.
According to the overwhelmingly positive early reactions, the film is as dark and twisted as the promotional material promised.
Here's what critics are saying about Joker.
The Guardian: "What a gloriously daring and explosive film Joker is. It’s a tale that’s almost as twisted as the man at its centre, bulging with ideas and pitching towards anarchy."
Cinema Blend: "It is because the protagonist trajectory in Joker runs entirely contrary to tradition that the movie is so unnerving and disturbing – but, frankly, that just means it’s doing what it’s supposed to do telling a story about this notorious character."
The Hollywood Reporter: "The clown prince of crime is alive and mentally unwell in Gotham City in Todd Phillips' grippingly atmospheric supervillain origin story, Joker. While a never-better Joaquin Phoenix paints on the famed maniacal smile with his own blood at one memorable climactic moment of messianic rebirth, what's most noteworthy about this gritty entry in the DC canon and the lead actor's sensational performance is the pathos he brings to a pathetically disenfranchised character — just like countless others in a metropolis in which the social chasm separating the haves from the have-nots has become a pit of incendiary rage."
BBC: "...Joker is ultimately nothing but a flimsy, two-hour supervillain origin movie, so the viewer is just waiting for Arthur to become the fully-fledged Clown Prince of Crime. If it had been chopped down to an hour and then intercut with a Batman plot, what a film that might have been."
Variety: "Many have asked, and with good reason: Do we need another Joker movie? Yet what we do need — badly — are comic-book films that have a verité gravitas, that unfold in the real world, so that there’s something more dramatic at stake than whether the film in question is going to rack up a billion-and-a-half dollars worldwide. Joker manages the nimble feat of telling the Joker’s origin story as if it were unprecedented."
IndieWire: "By the time “The End” comes in its cute, old-timey font, Joker is neither a game-changer nor just “another day in Chuckletown.” It’s both. It’s good enough to be dangerous, and bad enough to demand better. It’s going to turn the world upside down and make us all hysterical in the process. For better or worse, it’s exactly the movie the Joker would want."
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