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Joker (2019) : Fear of Clowns

With the gore of bullet wounds and the grace of a ballerina, psychological thriller Joker (Phillips, 2019) laughs until it hurts and then keeps on laughing. Unfolding in the infamous sin-city of Gotham, the film follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix); a vulnerable man living in poverty with his dependant mother Penny (Frances Conroy). Outside his weekly therapy sessions, he dreams of becoming a comedian and romancer but instead of being a stepping stone to better things, his clown-for-hire job soon leaves him beaten in an alleyway. Later, the weapon donated by his co-worker "for protection" makes an unplanned appearance while he performs at a children's hospital. With that, he is fired and released into a world full of triggers until the only thing that works is his gun. While Arthur's days as a clown are over, Joker has just begun.

In the opening scene alone, mirror close-ups focus on Arthur as his rough fingers hook the corners of his quiet mouth into a forceful, te…

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