JOKER- Rated R – 2 hours and 2 mins.

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This Review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

JOKER- Rated R – 2 hours and 2 mins.

DIRECTOR:  Todd Phillips (The Hangover, – 1, 2 & 3, Road Trip, Due Date, Old School…just to name a few) 

WRITERS:  Todd Phillips, Scott Silver 

STARRING:  Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy

Venturing into to the less-than-surreal existence of one Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), we find him trying to make his way in this cruel world, although it seems that whether its mean kids on the block, or some a-hole drunkards on the subway, Arthur just can’t seem to catch a break.  And to add to his sad day to day existence, Arthur must take care of his bed ridden mother Penny (Frances Conroy, who seems to be a little “off her rocker” too.  Now, attempting to escape from the tortures of real-life, Arthur finds some sense of relief, as he focuses on his obsession with talk-show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), and his attraction to the beautiful girl down the hall, Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz) too,  hoping and wishing that his infatuation with her, will someday be reciprocated.

Now, pushed to the limits by society as a whole, Arthur decides to take matters into his own hands, ridding Gotham City, and his own life, of those who seem to taunt him at every turn…Emerging from his clowning gigs, and stand-up dreams,  into a persona that even the streets of Gotham cannot deny, as JOKER my friends, has finally arrived…

I give JOKER a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN:  Dark and demented from its first frame to its last, Todd Phillips has truly veered from his comedic genre of film making this time around, as JOKER is nothing like you have ever seen from him before.  Joaquin’s performance as the most notorious, face painted villain in Gotham is astounding too, as his take on this character can definitely go up against both Nicholson’s and Ledgers performances, that preceding him.  And just as brilliant as it was to cast Phoenix in this role, was the casting of Robert De Niro as Talk show host Murray Franklin, as he’s plays this role out about as Carsonesque as it gets, along with the perfect castings of Frances Conroy as the Joker’s mentally-ill mother, and Zazee Beetz as the love interest, making this one of the most perfectly constructed casts I have seen all year too.  And with all of the hype surrounding this film, and its graphic violence, that many feel is not needed at this particular time in our society, I must say that I was not so much affected by the violence of this film, as if you know anything about these comic book characters, you know that violence has been a part of the storyline since its inception, but  I personally was more affected by the  mental-illness storyline throughout this film ~ which is also a profound issue within our society that seems to get brushed under the rug, right along with stricter gun control laws,  I am not discounting the views that have been shared, I just think that it’s sad that many people will be scared off by all this negative press, and not allow themselves to experience the most exceptional male performance I have seen so far this year.  And sad too will be catching this film any other way than on the biggest movie screen you can find, as watching on television will take away from its imagery and intenseness as a whole, leaving you totally shortchanged from the whole experience…