Joker (2019) might be one of the most boring movies I've seen this year. It certainly gives Ad Astra and Hellboy a run for their money, at least.

 

The slowness of the movie is accompanied with a score full of low notes on stringed instruments. You know, to give the impression that the movie scenes carry weight and importance. After hearing it for half an hour, it gets pretty old.

 

Joaquin Phoenix was easily the best part of the movie. He clearly put a lot of effort into playing The Joker, but unfortunately, the script never elevates the character to be interesting or compelling. The majority of the interesting things in the movie happen to The Joker. The active choices Joker makes barely matter in the context of the film. The majority of the things we see Joker actually do are: smoking, dancing, running, getting beat up, killing, making bad jokes, and being alone. (In that order)

 

The theme of "Mental Illness" is vaguely referenced multiple times in this movie. Ultimately, these references are so confusing, had no impact, and useless that they shouldn't have been there at well. (As opposed to Where'd You Go, Bernadette, where mental illness played an important and useful role) During the movie, social services get cut. But there are no consequences to this. In fact, by this point in the movie, Joker has already killed three people and started an imaginary relationship.

 

Anarchy also plays a prominent role. Joker winds up starting an anarchy movement after he kills three Wayne Enterprises employees. During each interaction with or even seeing the anarchy crowd, he seems really pleased with the movement, and also shows a general displeasure with wealthy people. But whenever Joker is asked about his thoughts on the subject, he keeps saying he doesn't care about the politics. The message of the movie just ends up coming across as really confused because of a refusal to pick a side on anything and say something. On the surface level, it seems like the movie has a lot to say, because it keeps touching on these subjects. But it always leaves it up to the audience to determine what the film wants to say because the film says nothing.

 

This is not a smart movie, or a powerful commentary. It's what Todd Phillips thinks that kind of movie looks and feels like. But hey, at least the cinematography was decent.