Cynical old me tends not to get caught up in hype much these days, and I wasn’t that excited when this Joker project was announced, seeing as we’ve already had several Jokers and there are so many other DC villains they can make films about. However, there’s no doubt that Todd Philip’s origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime is generating a huge buzz. Its premiere at the Venice Film Festival drew loud cheers when star Joaquin Phoenix’s name came up in the end credits, and then an eight-minute standing ovation Saturday night for Philips and Phoenix immediately afterwards.
Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Fleck is already generating awards talk, and the festival’s artistic director Alberto Barbera said that Joker is headed “straight to the Oscars.” , while Variety’s main film critic Owen Glieberman has called it a “neo-‘Taxi Driver’ knockout: the rare comic-book movie that expresses what’s happening in the real world.”
We shall find out if Joker is worth all this praise on October 4th this year.