Todd Philips’ Joker just received its first full teaser trailer and it’s two and a half minutes of dramatic tragedy. The trailer is cut together perfectly. If it weren’t a comic book movie you would be looking at a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination right off the bat, not that the Oscars mean anything since it seems like it’s composed of a bunch of corrupt, rich, baby-raping arseholes.
Anyway, Joker looks really good as far as composition and visual tone is concerned. It’s kind of weird but it seems to take the thematic presence of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and then strips it way down so that it feels more concentrated on a singular character while retaining that same brooding, dark appeal that put butts in the seats of Nolan’s masterpiece.
There’s also a lot of imagery showing Joaquin Phoenix’s depiction of the Joker on the ground, descending, and being beaten down. Even his somewhat climatic moment at the end of the trailer is him descending the stairs instead of ascending them. It basically shows the mental decline that the character goes through, the transformation he endures through pain, and the crescendo of emotional trauma that finally blossoms into a zenith of super-villainy.
You can check out the trailer below, courtesy of FilmStop Trailers.
The basic premise of the plot shows that the Joker has a pathetic and sullen life, to which he is subjected to both the mundane tasks of life and the drudgery of castigation from a cruel and unjust society.
Now I’m not entirely fond of how the trailer structures the subplot of the Joker’s descent into madness with a tether to his troubled mother, but a lot of it will depend on how Phillips put the entire film together around that subplot, which I hope doesn’t play too much of a larger role in what chips and breaks away at the Joker’s sanity.
One thing that looks interesting is how they appear to show the Joker performing small but significant crimes to gain notoriety. The counter-culture distaste that he develops in some ways also reminds me a lot of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
I do have one worry and it’s that hopefully the film doesn’t get lost in itself. As much as it could easily be a criminally themed dramatic masterpiece, it could just as well fall apart under trying to connect a lot of loose dots like attempting to make sense of an image depicted through a glued-together kaleidoscope.
But we’ll see how well Phillips and Phoenix’s ambitious character drama works when the full movie releases this October. Hopefully DC doesn’t wimp out and they give it the ‘R’ rating it deserves.