Trailer Spotlight: JOKER (2019) starring Joaquin Phoenix

Once in a while, a trailer pops up that’s too good NOT to blog about. In a time crowded with superhero movies and shows, it’s refreshing to see films that present an origin story of a villain. Now, I’m not saying I welcome films that glorify violence, but stories about flawed people are inherently more interesting.

Check it out…

A failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer.

I always thought it’d be hard to top Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. I thought Jared Leto was absolutely rubbish in the Suicide Squad, his interpretation is showy but lacking substance. More annoying than actual menace.

But Joaquin Phoenix… WOW. Judging from this trailer alone, this film looks poised to be a chilling origin story of a tragic character… This is NOT the Joker I’m familiar with. Here he’s a failed stand-up comedian who’s driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer. This is actually the first Todd Phillips movie I’m really looking forward too, and no, I haven’t seen any of the Hangover movies.

Before I go on about the trailer, can I say I LOVE this poster? The protagonist in a mask looking up at the gritty, dusty-looking letters that make up the title, followed up with ‘put on a happy face’ tagline makes for a stunning and highly evocative first impression. Hard to tell if the smudges are makeup or blood, which makes it all the more disturbing.

This is one eerie, evocative, affecting trailer that I’ve watched half a dozen times today. The use of Jimmy Durante‘s version of the classic song SMILE is particularly effective. Anachronistic elements can work to great effect when use properly and it certainly makes me think of the song in a whole new way (I’ve actually only heard the Nat King Cole’s version).

The trailer shows Arthur in his happier (normal) times, dancing with his ailing mother, even going on a date.

But as life dealt him one one bad blow after another, he slowly descends into madness. Interesting that the film shows him aspiring to be a standup comedian before he becomes y’know, the psychotic murderer that terrorizes Gotham City.

Speaking of Gotham, I have to say the cinematography looks absolutely gorgeous!! DP Lawrence Sher is definitely one to watch. The colors, the grittiness, and how he lights each scene… exquisite!

But the main draw for me here for me is Joaquin’s performance, which already sends chills down my spine. He’s definitely one of the best actors working today and hey, if Heath Ledger got a posthumous Oscar for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight, perhaps Joaquin has a shot? His performance seems worthy of such kudos.

Casting wise, I like seeing Brian Tyree Henry (love him in Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, Hotel Artemis) and Zazie Beetz (who’s awesome in Deadpool 2) as part of the cast.  I almost didn’t recognize Robert De Niro in the trailer until I saw he’s listed on IMDb.

Oh and speaking of Gotham’s other famous resident… well you might’ve spot Thomas Wayne speaking on TV about Joker as ‘someone who hides behind a mask’ (ahah just like his own son who becomes the caped crusader!) Here young Bruce Wayne is also shown in this rather ominous scene… which means the Joker is much older than Batman in this version.

Ok I think I’ve said enough. Can’t wait to see this. October 4 is quite a long wait!!

What did YOU think of this trailer?

15 thoughts on “Trailer Spotlight: JOKER (2019) starring Joaquin Phoenix

    1. Hi Cindy! Yeah seems like a role tailor-made for Joaquin. I like that there’s a certain sadness to this Joker, not just a random psychopath.

  1. HOLY FUCK!!!!! This looks incredible. Jared Leto… you need to go back to acting school boy! Joaquin Phoenix fucking nails it. I will totally go see this. I’m mixed on Todd Phillips as a filmmaker but this is too good to pass up.

    1. I like your enthusiasm!!

      I don’t know much about Todd Phillips but this one appeals to me just from the trailer, Joaquin is an incredible actor!!

      1. KotaBearsProductions

        If anyone wants alittle more I’ve made a fan music video on the trailer, if you want to check it out it’s on YouTube, Joker – The Tragic Truth it’s only a couple minutes long, I’m a joker fan and made it from my heart out of respect for the amazing work of Joaquin Phoenix and dc comics, thanks to everyone for supporting these unique takes on a classic character!

  2. I think I’m in the minority here since I thought it looked pretty generic and boring. I don’t need to know how The Joker became who he is, which is why Nolan’s version is the best one yet. Also, we’ve seen this story of someone who failed at life and got picked on and turned to evil way too many times before. It’s a film directed by Todd Phillips, even though I enjoy those Hangover films, I didn’t see anything from him that would think he can make something respectable.

    Now if some other respectable director like say David Fincher or Denis Villeneuve directed this film, I’d probably would’ve been more excited about it. Of course I could be wrong and this turns out to be a great film.

    1. Ahah, boring and generic?? WOW! I think a tried-and-true story can still be different when approached differently and the cast works well. I guess given that I don’t have a preconceived notion about Phillips I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt from this trailer which I think is well-crafted and intriguing. But yes, generally Fincher and Villeneuve would get my attention more. I can’t wait to see Villeneuve’s version of DUNE.

  3. Absolutely love the look and tone of this. Phillips worries me a bit but this looks strong right out of the gate. And I generally like the choices Phoenix makes. Can’t wait.

    1. Hi Keith! I think because I’m not familiar w/ Phillips’ work is perhaps a good thing, ahah. I didn’t even know who’s directing this when I saw the trailer. I do love Phoenix and he’s the main draw for me here. Man, THAT song is now stuck in my head!

    1. Hi Abbi! Yes indeed, I can’t stand Leto’s Joker at all but this one appeals to me immediately. I hope the film is as good as this trailer!

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