What makes "Joker" such a good movie ? [SMILE]

A film inspired by the universe of superhero comics that wins the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival after having received approval from almost all the critics present is unusual, to say the least. But Joker, who manages to offer what fans of the genre expect from this type of product without sacrificing anything in terms of ambition and complexity deserves indeed this welcome.

Joker 2019, What does it hold? Inevitably, too many of the components of his staging, very varied natures, but all of which work on two associated principles: a matter of rhythm and a case of distance.

Bizarre single object

The question of distance concerns games about the gap between stereotypes and inventions. The Joker is an icon of pop culture, that is, formatted by Hollywood. He can not and will not break with her.

But the designers of this film do not let themselves be locked up, nor are they content to play with clichés, spying on them with a few gags and some spectacular quibbles, as is customary in the management of franchises.

Joker, even if it is dedicated to a DC Comics character and is part of the Batman saga, is not a franchise film, in the sense that it does not return the ingredients of the previous episodes, nor does it set up variations to come up.

But, a strange single object in an archive- populated and marked universe, it succeeds, situation after situation, not to betray the great rules of this universe.

The issue of gap and tension is not just about the block of stories, characters, and processes that define superhero movies in their usual mediocrity-we can be skeptical about Scorsese's formula that "Marvel films are not cinema" while noting the indigence of the vast majority of productions of this type, without distinction between sources Marvel and DC obviously.

This question of the gap, of the good distance, constantly modified, concerns more generally the question of the hero in the cinema of very great consumption. Heroes, so morals.
The Joker is a bad guy, the case is heard. At least the one we know when he comes to the Bat-story, barely a year after the beginning of it in the late 1930s. He is, or not, the one who would have killed the parents of the young Bruce Wayne, causing the founding trauma of the man-bat man's schizophrenia.

To make it the main character is already singular: if Hollywood has been able - it is often the best of the kind - to be interested in the troublesome sides of the super-kind (The Dark Night, Wolverine, Hulk ...), it is going otherwise with a systematically evil being.

But in this case, and since the character with the bloody smile had become imagery favorable to the trade to a sufficient point so that it is conceivable to exploit it in solo, it opened two predictable ways of the facility.

One was to load the boat into infamies of all kinds, playing only the card of horror, or slapstick like Deadpool. The other was to construct a psycho-sentimental mechanics explaining, even without justifying it, that the clown, renamed here Arthur Fleck, is engaged in destructive acts because of the ill-treatment of all kinds he has suffered.

In the film co-written and directed by Todd Phillips, the Joker is one and the other ... and many other things. Most of the film's energy comes from the unpredictable flow between these different dimensions.

There are the misfortunes of poor Arthur, who has no reason to blame the rotten world where he survives, and the destructive impulses without any visible motive or justification that seize Fleck.

Naughty, sick, poor, unhappy, revolted

But also fragments drifting on the surface of fiction: radical criticism of society, the uncontrolled irruption of fantasy into reality, the character's adherence to myths built for his use.

There is a disturbing role conferred on these three seemingly close acts and very far apart: smile, laugh, make laugh. All three, which refers to a kind of American imperative (be nice, show that you're happy, make them laugh), is shown as painful, unhealthy, disturbing. And this is not the least transgressive aspect of the film - it is symptomatic that Woody Allen, a great artist that Hollywood dragged into the mud when he stopped making laugh, gives a similar place to laughter in the recent One day rain in New York.

But Arthur is not only unhappy and mean, but he's also sick. And the disease is here a territory maintained on the edge of the screen, neither reprehensible nor understandable, no less difficult to face. A dark spot in the lives of humans.

And again: the Joker is not only a super-villain, but he is also at first a poor man, in a violently unequal world. The film has the intelligence to draw no speech, just to take note, in a country where social injustice has grown steadily for thirty-five years.

Naughty, sick, poor, unhappy, scarred by his origins and his ability to trust his mother-his only landmark-he is still, not always but gradually, a rebel warrior, able to take up arms, to unleash an urban insurrection.

All its facets interact without melting, renew and multiply the figure under the single mask, summon backgrounds abyme.

An exceptional actor

It is necessary to give a presentation, a consistency at once carnal and psychic to a being as composite and escaping any definition, an exceptional actor. That's good, Joaquin Phoenix is an exceptional actor.

As a comedian, he does something very similar to what the Joker does as a character. It exists simultaneously on several registers, circulates between unbridled histrionism and interiority all in nuances, manages to be soft and aggressive in the same plane, beautiful and repulsive in the same image. Not thanks to makeup and disguises but despite themselves, beyond the surface tricks.

His versatile and enigmatic face, his body at the same time powerful and on the edge of the naked, often bare, are impressive resources of emotions and senses, never stabilized.

Phoenix, gifted comedian who has accompanied much of the ambitious American cinema of the last twenty years (in films by Gus Van Sant, Night Shyamalan, James Gray, Paul Thomas Anderson, Woody Allen ...) has no in no doubt know-how out of the ordinary.

The important thing here, unlike so many virtuoso numbers that some of his colleagues are also capable of, is that he gives the feeling of constantly tinkering, patching his character, constantly adding and removing fragments. When Phoenix plays Joker, lots of things can happen all the time.

Infinitely out of tune

Here comes the question of rhythm. This versatile and heterogeneous film requires an inner force, which pushes it forward without unifying its components. There is no question of resorting to the ordinary recipe of big-screen cinema, a recipe which, once "safe", as they say, with a bankable cast and striking replicas, is most often summed up to the foot on the floor, plus it's getting darker

On the contrary, the rhythm of the film is bumped, uneven, often unbalanced. It accelerates, slows down, seems to stand still, changes direction. In unison, if we can say that of an object whose interest is to be infinitely detuned, it's narrative and its actor, Joker does not fear to put three layers or to embark on ellipses in the form of jumps in the void.

There have been good spirits [1] to proclaim that such a film should not compete in a major international festival, and others to find that it is an apology for violence.

Two different reproaches but neighbors, both of which are afraid of cinema in action. If Joker is very singular, there is nothing unique about it - one can think of Lynch, Fincher, Scorsese, or even go back to hell is his to Raoul Walsh. That is to say, films that find, with spectacular means, how not to stop having to deal with the world.

While the failed clown Arthur Fleck, known as Happy, travels from infernal metro to a calamitous stage show, from trying to be recognized as the hidden son of the wealthy Mr. Wayne in a jubilant and frightening riot in the streets of Gotham, Joker never stops interlocking doors.

They look at real monsters, just as irrational and much more dangerous -Trump et al .- as well as on the dark corners of psyche with contours too swift to swear that it is not so, a little, or a little more, that of each one of us.

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