Warner Bros. Pictures premiered Todd Phillips’ “Joker” last night in competition at the Venice Film Festival where the film was met with an eight-minute standing ovation and shouts of applause at its conclusion. The response was expected after early morning press screenings similarly went down well though there’s some divisiveness in the reviews.
28 reviews have already been posted via Rotten Tomatoes from critics with a very good 86% T-meter ranking, but more impressively a 9.22/10 average rating – one of the absolute highest average rating scores on the site. Star Joaquin Phoenix is already said to be a serious awards contender for the project, though the overall film has a more varied reaction.
Here’s a sampling of reviews below:
“Having brazenly plundered the films of Scorsese, Phillips fashions stolen ingredients into something new, so that what began as a gleeful cosplay session turns progressively more dangerous – and somehow more relevant, too. 5/5” – Xan Brooks, Guardian
“This is a truly nightmarish vision of late-era capitalism – arguably the best social horror film since Get Out – and Joaquin Phoenix is magnetic in it. 5/5” – Philip De Semlyen, Time Out
“Phillips may want us to think he’s giving us a movie all about the emptiness of our culture, but really, he’s just offering a prime example of it.” – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine
“This is the world post-Joker and with nothing but shaky-breathed respect for the filmmaking and storytelling achievement it represents, God help us all. B+” – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
“If you strip the Joker and his nearly 80-year history as a cultural icon out of this film, as well as all the 1970s movie homages, there’s not a whole lot left except for Phoenix’s performance, and it’s the kind of turn that’s destined to be divisive.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“I’ve not always gotten along with Phoenix’s mannered, muscle-strained approach to his craft, but here he makes a compelling case for going full-tilt..” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“Feeble posturing, asinine pop psychology and political analysis charged with all the cynicism of a mollycoddled teen dropout in fake Oakleys and a home customised Linkin Park tee.” – David Jenkins, Little White Lies
“‘Joker’ is a dark, brooding and psychologically plausible origin story, a vision of cartoon sociopathy made flesh..” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“A dazzlingly disturbed psycho morality play, one that speaks to the age of incels and mass shooters and no-hope politics, of the kind of hate that emerges from crushed dreams.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Joaquin Phoenix’s fully committed performance and Todd Phillips’ masterful albeit loose reinvention of the DC source material make Joker a film that should leave comic book fans and non-fans alike disturbed and moved in all the right ways.” – Jim Vejvoda, IGN Movies
“Not to discredit the imaginative vision of the writer-director, his co-scripter and invaluable tech and design teams, but Phoenix is the prime force that makes Joker such a distinctively edgy entry in the Hollywood comics industrial complex.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Joker” opens around much of the world on October 4th.