|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 122 min.|
|FSK:||From 16 years|
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) leads a life on the fringes of Gotham City society. During the day he works as a clown, while in the evening he dreams of being a successful stand-up comedian. And then performing in the Late Night Show of the great Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) - that would be the highlight of Arthur's life. But instead, you don't laugh at his jokes, you laugh at him. He is constantly ridiculed, beaten and humiliated. His mother (Frances Conroy) still hopes for the help of her former employer Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), but even this hope proves to be deceptive. And at some point Arthur just got tired of the joke always getting his money's worth….
Director Todd Phillips has become famous for comedies like the three "Hangover" movies or the crazy "Old School". For a dark, at times disturbing movie like "Joker" it doesn't seem to be the right choice at first glance. But what Phillips has brought to the canvas here is truly beyond doubt. Not that there aren't any justified grounds for criticism. But as a gloomy character study and revealing look at our society, this story about one of the most famous villains of the DC universe is simply great.
In the run-up to the film, there was much criticism of the film, because it was feared that a killer - even if a fictitious one - would be glorified and that the depiction of violence would be too excessive. Especially in memory of the murders committed by an amok shooter in a US cinema during a premiere performance of the Batman film "The Dark Night Rises", a homage to the Joker seemed inappropriate to many. In fact, superficially one might get the feeling that the actions of Joker are justified by the fact that Arthur is portrayed as a man who is repeatedly kicked and tortured by society. But Phillips doesn't make it that easy.
His "Joker" has many more levels than it seems at the beginning. Watching Arthur become more and more caught up in a downward spiral towards madness is gripping, but also very uncomfortable. Especially as Phillips also addresses issues that are clearly related to the problems of our society. And that some viewers are bothered by the fact that they are held up to the mirror and don't like what they see, of course, doesn't stop there. But to criticize the film as glorifying violence is of course absolute nonsense.
There are aspects in the film that don't work quite so well or that seem a bit artificial. To respond to them would mean to tell too much about the plot, but I will avoid that as much as possible. But what I can say is this: Every point of criticism, however justified, is destroyed by the intense play of Joaquin Phoenix. What Phoenix delivers here is frighteningly good in the truest sense of the word. His laughter alone, which is explained in the film as a kind of Tourette's syndrome, will haunt you for a long time even after the end of the film. But also Robert De Niro is in his small supporting role as good as he has not been for a long time.
On the end there will be heated discussions and speculations for a long time. But it's quite clear: no matter how you interpret the last scene - and with it the previous events - the fact that "Joker" has become a really gripping psychogram doesn't change anything. Not an easy film, not one that you really like to watch, but still a piece of great cinema! Anyone who believes that all comic adaptations are the same will be taught better with a bitter blow in the pit of the stomach. And that's clearly one thing: Absolutely worth seeing!
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