WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS.
My first ATS review of a movie, away from the 'UFOs and Aliens' forum.
originally posted by: OtherSideOfTheCoin
... he kills (spoiler) 5 people in the movie by my count not 3.
I make it 6, including his mother. Possibly 7 since he 'seemed' to have killed the Arkham Asylum doctor in the final shot (remember the bloody
footprints after his interview). Aaaaaanyway, I have only just caught up with this movie, having also felt "jokered out", mistrustful of a director
known for 'The Hangover' franchise, and bored with all the endless chattering controversy over it.
The final verdict? I thought it was one of the most astonishing movies I have ever watched, with possibly the single most incredible lead performance
by an actor in decades - which I did NOT expect, especially from this director and such a well-worn DC source. The gradual mental disintegration of
professional clown Arthur (who also has stand-up ambitions despite not understanding the fundamental nature of humour) runs parallel with the
discomfort felt as we're drawn into a troubled mind. He at first elicits sympathy for his plight due in no small part to the abuse he receives for a
medical condition that manifests as manic laughter in times of stress; such laughter often replacing tears, leading to constant misunderstandings and
his first act of murder when attacked by three arrogant rich young men on a tube train.
Sympathy is thus eroded, especially as the murder suspect is treated as a local hero by 'V For Vendetta'-style city folk donning clown masks. When
Gotham cuts funding for his crucial counselling sessions, thus cancelling his medication, and as past revelations about the mother he lives with and
cares for are unveiled, his flailing stand-up comedy ambitions suddenly take a turn for something far, far worse when he is invited to perform on
Robert De Niro's chat show - someone had filmed him in a comedy club telling two jokes that were unrepresentative of his talent, or lack of.
Before reaching the TV studios, though, the murder of his mother has finally turned him 100% insane, leading him to brutally murder a fellow clown
colleague trying to express his condolences, watched by a dwarf friend of Arthur's who is terrified, mirroring Jodie Foster's reactions in 'Taxi
Driver' during Travis Bickle's final baptism of violence, both heightening scenes of violence not easily forgotten. That he spares the dwarf's life (a
potential witness) is unexpected until Arthur explains that he was the only person who was ever nice to him.
Arthur thus parades his own warped idea of justice, only attacking those who have wronged him, taking 'self-defence' to deplorable levels of excess.
Like a warped 'Death Wish'-style vision of his own internal hell. By now, we only understand his motives, but can never justify them. De Niro's
participation makes some obvious parallels to Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' (1976) and 'The King Of Comedy' (1982) more acceptable.
The overriding message of this film, contrary to the more extreme hyperbole in the media, is ANTI-violence and the basic advice that everybody should
be nicer to everybody, particularly in the toxic political climate we inhabit today. And if Phoenix doesn't receive an Oscar for this outstanding
characterisation, we'll also lose a bit of justice, too.
10/10 (very rare)
Not to everybody's taste, though, and definitely NOT a date-movie.
edit on 23-11-2019 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)