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Joker (2019)
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Brilliant first hour! The film held me spellbound like few films do. I was very focused on the story of the mentally ill Arthur Fleck and his continual downward spiral into something very dark and disturbing. And yet I liked Arthur, or at least I had great sympathy for him. In the first hour of the film three key ingredients came together: a disturbing story of the ultimate underdog...and a music score that accentuated the emotions of the scenes...and the third key component is Joaquin Phoenix who in my opinion is the best actor working today. Phoenix is able to dive into his roles and bring a resonances that makes us believe his angst, even when his character is unsavory as is the Joker. That first hour gets a 5/5+ rating. And Phoenix well deserved the Oscar for Best Actor.

However, and you know there had to be a however! Like most all blockbuster Hollywood movies Joker goes to far over the top and lost it's balance in my eyes in the second half. The first killings in the subway was justifiable (in movie standards) as Arthur had just been attacked and beaten. But the next two killings were more for shock value and gore and lost any empathy I had for the character. I get it that the target audience like that type of shock/gore, but it's too bad because what I seen building in the first hour was washed away by the super-hero movie craze of the second half.

Don't get me wrong there was still moments of genius in the second half but to much of it relayed on Scorsese's The King of Comedy (1982). I couldn't believe how similar the two were. Now if someone tells me the director/writer Todd Phillips was a fan of The King of Comedy and was paying homage to it...then cool. But otherwise it looks pretty close to plagiarisms to me. Maybe not by legal standards but as far as creative script writing goes, pffft.

I rate the second half at 3/5

I'll balance out the two ratings and my official rating: