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Joker: Joaquin Phoenix shines as villainous clown
First off, just give Joaquin Phoenix all the awards. He deserves any that come his way for his haunting portrayal of a mentally disturbed man beaten down by a cruel society before discovering violence and murder as his escape, at least in his damaged mind. Phoenix reportedly lost 55 pounds for the role and his bony, wiry frame carries this film in virtually every scene. He is mesmerizing as Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire, with a condition that causes him to laugh uncontrollably when he gets nervous, creating an increasing chasm between Fleck and the public. Most of his interactions with people are bad and the good ones seem to be created in the movie in his mind. When that movie finally unspools, his empathy for his fellow city dwellers does as well.