Joker reviewed by Mark Kermode

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  • Published: 05 October 2019
  • Mark Kermode reviews Joker. In 1980s Gotham City, troubled loner and wannabe comedian Arthur Fleck find himself pushed over the edge.

    Please tell us what you think of the film -- or Mark’s review of the film. We love to include your views on the show every Friday.

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Comments • 2 023

  • Aaron A420
    Aaron A420  51 minutes back

    Its not an actual origin story for The Joker. Its a completely alternative take on The Joker, and is not canon.

    • J T
      J T  4 hours back

      Mark, yes he directed the Hangover movies and was successful. Bryan Cranston started on Malcolm In The Middle but I bet you loved his Walter White.... Calm yourself.

      • Ganja Mozart
        Ganja Mozart  5 hours back

        When he is in the stairwell with his mother's file, that scene broke my heart. Phoenix is miraculous.

        • Bruce Gorham
          Bruce Gorham  8 hours back

          Twice, the reviewer says, "no one" thought Arthur Fleck was funny. But, Fleck made the child on the train laugh, and he made the children in the hospital laugh. Fleck is still a captive child (tied to the radiator). His "unsophisticated" humor is simply childlike.

          • dasein
            dasein  2 hours back

            Great point

        • Susan Vaughan-schiele
          Susan Vaughan-schiele  9 hours back

          It's dark. It's hard to see how it's more irresponsible than any other comic character film though as they all contain masses of gratuitous, hyper- violence.
          It looks depressing frankly. Painful to watch. The depiction of mental illness is more irresponsible than the violence.

          • GhostManBrandonDDpre
            GhostManBrandonDDpre  9 hours back

            American media prayed for this film to fail. Too bad for them.

            • Mahler7
              Mahler7  11 hours back

              The plot is so empty, scenes so predictable and the acting is unbelievably trashy. The jazz period music is good, the more serious string music is trash. This is a terrible film.

              • tom black
                tom black  11 hours back

                Society is not falling apart – maybe it has been torn apart by the rich that’s the message in this film and why we shouldn’t be doing that because the rich will make monsters grow

                • tom black
                  tom black  11 hours back

                  This is an anti-austerity movie

                  • fusionaut23
                    fusionaut23  12 hours back

                    Two movies this year dealt with mental illness and addiction, Dark Phoenix and the Joker. Two of the best films of this year in my humble opinion. The media aren't interested in these types of movies because they deal with a very real epidemic they think identity politics, SJW's and shredding white men are more important and relevant right now. One topic is being ignored in the media and the other is being forced on the public by these subversive groups. Just like the line in the Joker film that went something like this " Who is looking at us " The media is a cesspool and people really need to be on guard and stay alert.

                    • Cal Hackit
                      Cal Hackit  13 hours back

                      i've never seen someone not 'get it' so much in my life.

                      "he's not a sympathetic character, he's a pitiful character"
                      ^yeah, you really dont get it.

                      but it's fascinating to hear someone that cant understand a tortured soul in a souless society.

                      • Cal Hackit
                        Cal Hackit  13 hours back

                        you cant relate to it mark, because you are the vocal minority. you are the london/globalist/media elite; that tries to tell us we're all terrible or pitiful people.

                        it's you that deserves pity. you have no soul.

                    • Tomorrow Yesterday
                      Tomorrow Yesterday  13 hours back

                      *spoiler*




                      When he shot the talk show host, I was really excited. I want to see that happen in real life.

                      • Jonathan Savoy
                        Jonathan Savoy  16 hours back

                        You're the joke, and, sadly, you don't get it. Or the movie. There are so many subtlies you didn't see...

                        • Fan Made Videos
                          Fan Made Videos  16 hours back

                          The movie was a rip off of the Seinfeld episode featuring Crazy Joe Davola as Pagliacci

                        • IPCC SaysLessThan12Years
                          IPCC SaysLessThan12Years  21 hours back

                          Agree with most of what Kermode said. But I completely disagree that the Joker's character doesn't invoke sympathy. He's a grown man living in a state of poverty with his dependent mother, suffering through very poor employment conditions, diminishing social safety nets and severe mental illness. If you don't, at any point, feel sympathy for a character like that, you'd have to wonder when the last time was that you'd felt it!

                          • MrHighnstein
                            MrHighnstein  22 hours back

                            Exactly as I saw it. Created through a rather cynical and narcissistic outlook on a society that has rejected him. And it's fantastic.

                            Falling down is one of my favourite ever films and I'm glad he drew the comparison.

                            • Otto Fumbler
                              Otto Fumbler  22 hours back

                              A modern masterpiece. Don't confuse this with the usual DC/ Marvel mass produced crap. The only downside... we won't see another movie of this craftsmanship for a generation. Take a bow.

                              • Jai R.Emmett
                                Jai R.Emmett  24 hours back

                                Woke culture kills culture, full stop

                                • Boaty Mc Boatface
                                  Boaty Mc Boatface  24 hours back

                                  Only movie I've seen twice in years!

                                  • Jai R.Emmett
                                    Jai R.Emmett  24 hours back

                                    Woke culture kills culture, full stop

                                    • Glen Coxon
                                      Glen Coxon  24 hours back

                                      Woke culture has killed comedy.

                                      • Robert Smith
                                        Robert Smith  1 days back

                                        When he steals his mother's confidential file..and sees he is NOT a Fleck..NOT a Wayne..he is nobody..he was just a very little boy that was brutally beaten and given brain trauma and naked and chained to a radiator..after reading that..he turned into Joker.

                                        • Michael Etzel
                                          Michael Etzel  1 days back

                                          "...it did a pretty good job of depicting someone's descent into completely self-absorbed, narcissistic rage"..

                                          There was absolutely nothing self-absorbed or narcissistic about the Joker. He was literally completely rejected by society and was desperate for some kind of acceptance or sense of belonging/appreciation. Sure he had his own aspirations, but he was not at all narcissistic. While he did become the villain at the end of the movie, the true antagonist in the film is the society at large who rejected the Joker. I'm not going to claim his innocence, but he was definitely the victim here.

                                          • dasein
                                            dasein  2 hours back

                                            I get it if you sympathize with Arthur, but you don't seem to understand narcissism well enough to comment on it.

                                        • rubix71
                                          rubix71  1 days back

                                          Respect to the cause and effect scenario presented here, but (aside from narcissism) no mention of mental illness, ptsd, abuse or trauma as factors.

                                          • Jupiter Eye
                                            Jupiter Eye  1 days back

                                            No. it is not expectations, it is strictly close-mindedness that produced these polarities. Expecting something to be good or bad is vastly different than perceiving the whole movie to such extremes to say that it is irresponsible, dangerous or even "perfect" for that matter. This movie is hardly the most provocative movie ever, the problem is polarized society.

                                            • Zonumxela -
                                              Zonumxela -  1 days back

                                              Mar Kermode still coming across as quite woke and just couldn’t quite admit it was a great movie 🍿 😄😆🤣 joker 🃏

                                              • Lift1One
                                                Lift1One  1 days back

                                                This film is a remake of V for Vendetta

                                                • dasein
                                                  dasein  2 hours back

                                                  *Taxi Driver

                                              • MrCrispian
                                                MrCrispian  1 days back

                                                so...did he like it ..or what?

                                                • Justin Tierney
                                                  Justin Tierney  1 days back

                                                  Some critics say that the film had no message. But when I walked out of the theater I was left with the idea of being nicer to people. Small acts of kindness could have done wonders for Arthur.

                                                  • Lloyd Peters
                                                    Lloyd Peters  1 days back

                                                    Adding to the backlash to the lash against the backlash. Massive MK fan, so disappointed with this review which bizarrely misses the point - either by accident or design? No mention of THE issue? It's NOT that the old chestnut of whether film inspires copy-cat violence. It's the M issue stupid!: the way that cinema casually portrays or rather mis-portrays Mental Health issues under the guise that this is just a bit of entertainment - 'loosen up pal its a pre-Batman film by the director of Hangover movies, what did you expect bro?'. But how could the good doctor miss this (muzzled?) and not say a syllable about the way the film dangerously, and cynically portrays the disturbed, the abused , the vulnerable as an insane and violent mass murderer. This is why this self-important film has been described as cynical, shallow and manipulative. Before I suffer the backlash of the backlash to the lash of the backlash, I am certainly not against films that explore these difficult subjects. Indeed, King of Comedy, the film that inspires Joker, is an intelligent (and funny) exploration of personality disorder and violence. But Joker is not a serious piece of drama, it is a DC comic book film posing, nay begging, to be taken seriously by using every 'abuse-equals-violence' trope in the director of Hangover's play- book. And any man who pays Gary Glitter, a convicted paedophile, royalties for his use of Rock N Roll Part 2, cannot be trusted. For a more incisive analysis I recommend Peter Bradshaw's review in The Guardian.

                                                    • Rome Timed
                                                      Rome Timed  1 days back

                                                      Had no interest in this movie until mainstream media started saying it would cause people to shoot up theaters. When they do that it's basically a must watch for me as I know the mainstream has zero adaptability for being outside their comfort zone and I love media that takes me out of my comfort zone.

                                                      Great film.

                                                      • Chris McEvoy
                                                        Chris McEvoy  1 days back

                                                        Mark is wrong about why there was initial backlash, it was politically motivated hate due to some comments made by the director. The film is a great character piece and is not political at all.

                                                        • jebusgod
                                                          jebusgod  1 days back

                                                          doesn't like the hangover movies.....has no sense of humour

                                                          • MyXxx77
                                                            MyXxx77  1 days back

                                                            Saw it yesterday and it's plain amazing. The King of Comedy was funny. This isn't. You could make a case that it is the nasty, ugly, deformed twin brother of the King of Comedy with nods to Taxi Driver, Death Wish, Fight Club and some others. Like any solid film, it is a bit of a stew of some other great films that came before it. I went in expecting something dark and incredible and that's what I got. "Joker" does for comic book movies what "Henry; Portrait of a Serial Killer" did for slasher movies. People who thought Freddy and Jason were scary and saw "Henry" got a disturbing dose of reality. After "Joker", it will be some time before I can watch another Marvel/DC film and their "drama" without laughing uncontrollably... like Arthur Fleck.

                                                            • Sempereadem54 Eadem
                                                              Sempereadem54 Eadem  1 days back

                                                              Why is there a Glitter song in it.

                                                              • Boyce Bailey
                                                                Boyce Bailey  1 days back

                                                                It was 95% some poor sod being horrifically abused. Should have been called "Arthur chain smokes".

                                                                • Simeon Teitelbaum
                                                                  Simeon Teitelbaum  1 days back

                                                                  Lets be perfectly clear: those fear-mongering about this movie (jn many cases, before having seen it) are social conservatives in new garb, defenders of the status quo (in which they are newly entrenched) trying to incite a moral panic about today's social disreputables. They so hate and fear this image of angry men they've built up in their minds that they attach it to anything that comes along. They are practically identical to Trumpists who demonize migrants and project their own hatred on them. Worse, these charlatans hide their callous distaste for the lower orders behind the banner of social justice. In truth, they are the Renfields for the vampires of capital, a seething bunch of ninnies who want to hold on their newfound positions of (lets be honest, minimal) influence, do their moneyed masters bidding, and see that revenge is meted out to those they deem deserving. And so they fear whom they hate, and turn a movie which is about psychological and mental disintegration and the cruelty of world that doesn't care into whatever the hell they think it should be, to satisfy their own selfish ends

                                                                  • dasein
                                                                    dasein  2 hours back

                                                                    Sure thing, Herr Teitelbaum.

                                                                • C
                                                                  C  1 days back

                                                                  It’s actually originally an inside joke / critique on the comics industry.
                                                                  Comedy = comic.
                                                                  It’s a comment on how comic artists / writers who wanted to do more serious social commentaries in their work were treated like a ‘joke’ by the publishers. Given the flick / fired. Arthur Fleck. Art was given the flick for more pulpy fantasy based material comic book hero fantasies.
                                                                  This story is a reflection on what happens when you suppress artist right to do meaningful work.
                                                                  Art imitates life. But not in the comics industry. That’s what they’re trying to say.
                                                                  For marvel etc. Art imitates Fantasy

                                                                  • Tom Hulme
                                                                    Tom Hulme  1 days back

                                                                    I dont like people who use the negative things that happen in their life to destroy the world we live in to make themselves feel better and justify their existance.

                                                                    • -JB 89-
                                                                      -JB 89-  1 days back

                                                                      Best film I've seen in years.

                                                                      • Barney Quinn
                                                                        Barney Quinn  2 days back

                                                                        I didn't want this film to end

                                                                        • Kearen coombs
                                                                          Kearen coombs  2 days back

                                                                          This guy is so pretentious

                                                                          • chris don
                                                                            chris don  2 days back

                                                                            "Woke culture has killed comedy." Kermode says this is very "Unendearing" of the director. So Kermode is saying truth is unwelcome, at least with him, which explains the mental gymnastics he plays avoiding the elements of the movie which are criticisms of the woke culture Kermode seems to be championing here.
                                                                            Kermode wants to diss the movie, but it is to much of a masterpiece, if he dumps on Joker as he wants to, he knows it will just damage his credibility.
                                                                            Instead he casts vague moral and political aspersions on the films 'motivations", while ignoring the elements of the movie which hold a mirror up to the ugliness of woke culture hypocrisy. Enter Kermode to demonstrate....

                                                                            • chris don
                                                                              chris don  2 days back

                                                                              "Woke culture has killed comedy." Kermode says this is very "Unendearing" of the director. So Kermode is saying truth is unwelcome, at least with him, which explains the mental gymnastics he plays avoiding the elements of the movie which are criticisms of the woke culture Kermode seems to be championing here.
                                                                              Kermode wants to diss the movie, but it is to much of a masterpiece, if he dumps on Joker as he wants to, he knows it will just damage his credibility.
                                                                              Instead he casts vague moral and political aspersions on the films 'motivations", while ignoring the elements of the movie which hold a mirror up to the ugliness of woke culture hypocrisy. Enter Kermode to demonstrate....

                                                                              • chris don
                                                                                chris don  2 days back

                                                                                Nobody claimed that "Schindler's List" was a rallying cry trying to bring back death camps.

                                                                              • chris don
                                                                                chris don  2 days back

                                                                                Nobody claimed that "Schindler's List" was a rallying cry trying to bring back death camps.

                                                                              • Robert Galletta
                                                                                Robert Galletta  2 days back

                                                                                AND WE ALL FALL DOWN

                                                                                • lockoshamface
                                                                                  lockoshamface  2 days back

                                                                                  Something good on the BBC?? ... I must be dreaming