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– by Campbell Clark

Joker was shown this weekend at the Venice Film Festival for the first time to audiences, and with that, early reviews have hit the web. The interesting thing is that while the film is sitting currently on Rotten Tomatoes at 89%, out of the 35 reviews so far, most who have reviewed it negatively REEEAAALLLY don’t like it.

For example, TheWrap states that:

“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.”

Time Magazine was even less kind, saying:

“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.”

Finally, RogerEbert.com went into full-on hate mode, saying:

“As social commentary, Joker is pernicious garbage.”

But again, apart from those outnumbered Rotten reviews, the majority of the comments were very much on the hyperbolic side.

Below is a selection from many social media posts and it would be fair to say that most critics seem to be gushing over this movie, especially in the performance of Joaquin Phoenix as the Crown Prince of Crime himself. Check them out.

Whilst not everyone is hailing it as the best movie of all time, (there’s even mention of the ending not quite landing for this film), it does seem like the vast majority of critics loved it and every seems to be praising Phoenix as Joker. Already we are hearing Academy Award buzz for Phoenix and given that Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the character, this could mean the second actor to win one of the top performance awards for the same character, a rare occurrence. In fact, the only time I can recall this happening previously was Robert De Niro wining the Oscar for playing Vito Corleone after Marlon Brando had previously won for the same role. However, I admit my Oscars knowledge is sketchy at best.

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Joker was a movie I thought looked great from that initial trailer and I certainly plan on seeing it as soon as possible when it hits theaters on October 4th. As an adult movie though, I may have to find a different cinema partner for this one as I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of film my 12 year old son should be watching any time soon.

What do you think of the reactions so far, are you hyped for this movie, and if not why not? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot below as always and let’s put a smile on that face.

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