Going into the year, there were a lot of questions about the “Joker” movie – questions that were pretty quickly answered by the film’s superb first trailer which promised a “Taxi Driver”/”King of Comedy” style take on the famed DC Comics villain.
The buzz on the film turned around and now there’s real anticipation for it, though the concern is still there mostly due to the film’s director Todd Phillips and his track record of “The Hangover” films.
The film’s credibility got a shot in the arm this week when it was announced that not only will the film have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, but is doing so in competition. That sounds like there’s real faith in the final product and today, Venice festival director Alberto Barbera says he expects the film to be a serious awards contender:
“Yes, as usual they [Warners] said they wanted to be in a more protected situation [ala ‘A Star Is Born’ last year], but then [director] Todd Phillips said: ‘I don’t care if I run the risk of not winning. Why shouldn’t I go in competition when I know what we’ve got on our hands?’
I have to say, Warners was convinced pretty rapidly, because it’s a really surprising film. It’s the most surprising film we’ve got this year…This one’s going straight to the Oscars even though it’s gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope.”
Phillips’ film will now go up against some pretty high profile new features from directors like Olivier Assayas, Pablo Larrain, Steven Soderbergh, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Noah Baumbach, and James Gray. The Venice Film Festival begins August 28th, while “Joker” arrives everywhere in early October.