Sunday, 19 January 2020

Blu-ray Review - Joker

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Todd Phillip's Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix caught everyone by surprise last fall when it blew up at the box office, which has become the first R-rated film to gross over a $1 billion worldwide. Despite receiving mostly mixed reviews from mainstream critics, the film won two Golden Globe awards for Best Actor and Best Original Score. Just a few days ago, it received 11 Academy Awards and 11 British Academy Film Awards nominations.

Joker (R; 122 mins) was released to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on January 7th by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC. It landed on Digital HD back in December.

Based on DC Comics' supervillain Joker, the film is set in the fictional Gotham City in 1981 and centers around a wannabe comedian Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix), who suffers from pathological laughter. He lives with his mentally ill mother (played by Frances Conroy) and works as a party clown. After being attacked in the alley by a group of thugs, a co-worker gives him a gun, which leads Arthur down a path directly into madness.

The film also stars Zazie Beetz, Bret Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Marc Maron, Douglas Hodge, Josh Pais, Leigh Gill, Shea Whigham, and Robert De Niro.

Special Features include:
  • Joker: Visions & Fury
  • Becoming Joker
  • Please Welcome... Joker!
  • Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos

Final Thoughts

Let me start out by saying Joker might be a DC movie but it's not your typical comic book fare. It's a character-driven origin story that's set in reality and focuses heavily on social issues of poverty and mental illness. Joaquin Phoenix gives an incredible performance as Arthur Fleck (a.k.a. Joker), a depressed man who slowly becomes a murdering psychopath.

Todd Phillips does an excellent job in the director's chair, as well as co-writing the script with Scott Silver. The mood and atmosphere resembles the movies from the late '70s and early '80s, such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which both starred Robert De Niro, who also plays talk show host Murray Franklin in Joker.

The musical score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is wonderful and it helps capture the dark tones of the film.

The picture and sound qualities are topnotch on the 4K Ultra HD. There are several interesting behind-the-scenes special features.

Overall, Joker is a surprisingly well-made drama, even though it's only loosely based on the character's comic book origins.

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