We've got our first look at Joaquin Phoenix in his Joker makeup - and it looks fantastic. A 1980s-set origin movie for the Clown Prince of Crime inspired by the crime movies of Martin Scorsese (who was at one point attached as executive producer), Todd Phillips' Elseworld's DC film has raised a lot of eyebrows since it was first rumored in Summer 2017. "Just what is it?" has been the main question on many people's lips as Joaquin Phoenix jumped on board and casting for a Trump-like Thomas Wayne circulated.
We're no closer to knowing that, but we are beginning to get a feel for the Joker of the story. The first look at Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur was revealed last weekend by the director, showing an entirely unassuming, slightly gaunt man, while set photos showed a man with a sharp dislike of clowns.
Now, a video of what appears to be Joker's final form in the movie has been revealed and, well, it's definitely something. This sort of teaser is rare, and gives a disturbingly intimate look at a movie shrouded in secrecy. And why wouldn't they? The Joker looks great!
- This Page: Why Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Look Is So Good
- Page 2: Why The Reveal Video Is Great (And Better Than Jared Leto's First Look)
This Joker Is So Different (Yet Still Joker)
Stating the obvious somewhat, this is a radical redesign of the Joker. There's been four previous Clown Prince of Crimes on the big screen - Cesar Romero in Batman (1966), Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989), Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Jared Leto in Suicide Squad - and while each looked entirely unique, they were all a clear distillation of the comic book character.
Phoenix, plainly, is not; his inspiration is more John Wayne Gacy than it is The Man Who Laughs. However, what it lacks in visual cues, the design makes up for in the sense of maniacal derangement. That classic clown look is offset by a clearly haphazard application, and lighting accentuates the gaunt face Phoenix has slimmed down. Add the dancing clips projected on top, which are haunting in their gleeful lack of purpose (and we'll look at properly shortly), and there's no mistaking this for Joker.
Joaquin Phoenix Has The Scary, Subtle Mannerisms Down
But it's in the performance where we really get the Joker. Phoenix smiles, chuckling lightly to himself, before taking a breath, giving an almost resigned twitch of the eyebrow, and having his face fall to something much more static. It all happens in three seconds of screentime, but the actor gives so much.
There's an inherent sense of self-pleasing in the smile, the twisting of something that clowns typically do for the audience here clearly for Arthur's own benefit, and then the realization that it's all a facade; the more morose expression is the truth behind the makeup. Even that eyebrow twitch, so subtle, conveys a lot: there's a sense of control there, an aspect that defines all previous Jokers and gives an unknowing sense of dread.