Tag Archives: joaquin phoenix

180 – Joker

It’s as though we’ve seen two different films, with José bowled over by Joker‘s social commentary, Mike bored and annoyed by its perceived self-satisfaction – not to mention an audience that applauded at the end. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is explored to be a product of an uncaring, broken society that reaps in him what it sows, in a 1981 Gotham City that is the New York City of the era in all but name. José argues that the film will become a bellwether of the time, depicting the anger of the oppressed and downtrodden – Mike suggests, though, that in demonising them and aligning them to villainy, it gives the right-wing what it wants, in a vision of antifa, the enemy it believes it faces.

We discuss issues of race and representation, Mike seeing similarities between some of the film’s scenes and real-life historical crimes to which they may refer, and in observing racial components and changes to them, asks what the purpose may be, though, struggles to work towards an answer. And José remarks favourably upon everything aesthetic, including the way in which poverty is written into Phoenix’s withered form, the expressiveness and grace of his movement, and the film’s use of shallow focus.

There’s a lot going on in Joker, both on its own terms and in the cultural conversations it has ignited, and it may be worth a second go.

The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

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51 – You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here tells a story of vigilante justice with a tapestry of elliptical editing and interwoven flashbacks. We consider its themes, the deliberate way it depicts or conceals violence, the effect of trauma on its protagonist and his need for human connection. It’s a complex, almost ergodic film, that requires attention, rewards visual literacy, and yields great pleasures. We love it.

We also praise Amazon Studios for respecting the theatrical release window, and round off by discussing the recent Oscars.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.