Like most movie goers out there, I was absolutely stoked when I saw the first trailers to Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix as the man who would go down a sad and dark path to become one of the greatest comic book villains of all time. While I didn’t get to see it during its theatrical run, Warner Bros gave me the next best thing with a 4K UHD review copy that makes an already stunning looking and very well acted film even better and is a must-own for any movie lover’s collection.
Fellow editors Travis Seppala and Christian Stirling had a chance to catch this film as it played in theaters, and you can check out both Travis’ and Christian’s reviews for all of the dark plot and more. I can definitely see where they’re coming from in their reviews, as this film is one of the most divisive I’ve seen, but I’ll admit I enjoyed it from start to finish, warts and all. I haven’t seen a depressing film that captures the darkness of it so well in such a long time (epics such as Requiem for a Dream come to mind) and Joker was a breath of fresh air, or should I say dank, depressing air that just grabbed my attention and held me until it’s twist-filled finish.
Everyone knew Joaquin Phoenix was going to be nominated for best actor once the trailers and movie came along, and let me just reiterate that he deserves it as this is hands down the best performance he has ever done (and I loved him in past masterpieces such as Gladiator and Signs) and one of the best in movies period. From the first frame to the last, Phoenix captures the depressing madness flawlessly as if he’s naturally like this all the time and not playing a character at all.
Then there’s the excellent 4K UHD with HDR color presentation that makes the already dark and dreary look and feel of the film even more dark and scary as every creepy detail comes through clean and perfect. The Dolby Atmos audio seals the cinematic experience with its rich and crisp sound that pulls you into this mad world and keeps you there as every line of dialogue and action sound surrounds you.
If there is a downside to this epic release, it’s the lack of meaty special features. “Please Welcome… Joker!” shows off a few takes of Joaquin Phoenix appearing on “The Murray Franklin Show” within the film in different ways. There’s some other light stuff such as an image gallery and some trailers, with the only decent extra being one that has director Todd Philips and producer Bradley Cooper going into making the film, the production design, and more.
Joker is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2019 and any year for that matter as it takes viewers on a thrilling and often times disturbing ride of depression and madness that few films fail to capture properly. While this home release could’ve used some better extras, the overall film itself coupled with 4K HDR visuals and Dolby Atmos audio gets the last laugh and make this a must-own for any movie lover’s video collection.