It has been a long time coming, but this Oscar-worthy portrayal of many people’s favourite comic book super villain has been worth the wait.
Joaquin Phoenix deserves all the plaudits heading his way for his towering role as Gotham City’s evil genius.
His performance personifies the film’s disturbing take on a society riddled with class division and crime, but be warned – this does not always make for comfortable viewing.
The film follows the decent of central character Arthur Fleck into the manic depths of despair, which ultimately result in him adopting Joker’s persona. It is a journey of savage barbarity, lacking in both remorse or guilt.
This origin film’s take on Batman’s arch-nemesis is closely aligned to the original comic book character, who was often portrayed as mentally ill or criminally insane.
Phoenix delivers an even darker and vicious take on the character than his vaunted predecessor, the late Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his depiction.
It is certainly a far cry from the character’s comic escapades on 1960s TV.
Phoenix shed 23.6kg in six months for the role, but it is his psychological transformation into a madman who kills for personal gratification that leaves a lasting impact.
Some might question the need for such excessive violence, particularly the more sadistic scenes.
But it all plays into director Todd Philips’ narrative of an uncaring world in which lines are increasingly blurred and people will go to extreme lengths to obtain their vision of justice.
What’s clear is that Warner Brothers has made a significant move away from its more mediocre genre of family-friendly superhero films.
Its study of what drives a twisted mind into a life of crime and despair is a strong approach, which will likely reignite the interest of DC Comics fans – as well as hold appeal for new audiences.
The movie, which is 122 minutes long, is being screened in Cinepolis Bahrain, Oasis Juffair, Vox Cineco City Centre, Seef Cineplex, Saar Cineplex, Wadi Al Sail, Mukta A2 and Vox The Avenues.