Joker on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review – Joaquin Phoenix

Joker (Joaquin Phoenix), aka Arthur Fleck, tells himself to ‘put on a happy face’, but as he admits at one point, he’s never been happy for his entire life.

But that’s the tears of a clown for you, and we first see him putting make-up on in front of the mirror before going out on the sreet to dance and show off to advertise for a shop that’s having a sale, such is the life of an aspiring actor/comedian. What normally doesn’t happen in life, is that he gets brutally attacked in an alleyway.

Along the way, we learn he was released from a mental asylum, he bursts out laughing thanks to a medical condition, he lives with and looks after his mum who worked for the Wayne family for years – including Bruce’s father, Thomas (Brett Cullen), and when he attends therapy sessions, you feel like Arthur is channelling the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak when he says to his therapist, “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”

There’s great support from Frances Conroy as his mum, and when he lies to her, saying that people tell him his stand-up is ready for the big clubs, she replies without a hint of incredulity, “Don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian?”

Robert De Niro, as Murray Franklin, presents a cheesy TV late night chat show, and Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2) is his neighbour, Sophie, whose story will be told as you watch, but I don’t want to give any detail about her character in advance.


Zazie Beetz as neighbour Sophie Dumond.

For Arthur, inadvertently murdering people seems to put him in a mood for a balletic performance, and all the while, you’re left wondering what’s real and what’s just going on in his head. His extraneous laughing does tend to jar after a while, but then I figure it’s meant to. Plus, Phoenix gives a very eccentric performance, but it’s clear that his BAFTA and Oscar wins aren’t just for this film, but that he’s made a number of films – such as You Were Never Really Here – where he’s given it his all, so it’s like a collaborative award.

The film also features a stirring string music score, but at one point, it also includes a snatch of Gary Glitter’s Rock And Roll Part 2… and while it’s been noted that the convicted individual did not receive any money for the song’s use, it still seems odd that they had a choice whether or not to use it and they still did.

Overall, Joker is certainly an engaging movie with a superb lead performance, but is it so great that it should be up for Best Film? Of course not, and neither was Parasite. Still, awards shows are bunk, anyway.

Now, what’s the potential of a sequel? Well, Warner Bros probably expected the smart money to be on the Harley Quinn movie, Birds Of Prey, but that had a budget of $84.5m and so far, it’s only taken $198m worldwide. A film needs to recoup 2-3 times its budget to break even, and any studio would expect at least $800m in box office to consider something a success. Meanwhile, Mr Phoenix’s movie cost $55m and has taken $1.07bn at the box office, so a sequel is assured.

Now, I *would* really like a sequel to Justice League!


Arthur has already dreamt of being on the show hosted by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro).


Joaquin Phoenix in an early on-set picture.

The picture and sound quality is flawless, delivering the great score throughout, and it’s precisely what you expect from a modern release.

The extras are as follows, and there’s not a huge list of them, which I thought would’ve accompanied such a major movie:

  • Becoming Joker (1:25): Looking for a big ‘making of’? Erm… well, we have less than 90 seconds of make-up tests set to the main score.

  • Joker: Vision and Fury (22:25): Okay, this is more of a proper ‘making of’ as cast and crew give their thoughts on the movie, set to clips from it.

  • Please Welcome…. Joker! (2:44): In the same style, we get several takes of his coming on stage to Murray’s show.

  • Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos (3:04): A number of on-set pictures set to the score.

  • Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.

The main menu has a piece of the theme which only plays 2-3 times, while a still of ‘Joker’ is onscreen. Oddly, on the right-hand side is a list of extras which you can’t shift off the screen unless you’re selecting from one of the other options, such as audio or subtitles.

There’s an odd number (literally) of chapters in 13, the final one being for the end credits. Subtitles come in several languages listed below. I had to get the info from the back of the box, since in the onscreen menu, they’re all in their native language, and on the PS4’s pop-up menu, it lists – for example – “Chinese” on four consecutive options without differentiating in the type of Chinese.

Joker is out now on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray, DVD and Amazon Video

The Blu-ray package, and on the back of the Birds Of Prey image is…

(click on the image for the full-size 4K picture)

Wonder Woman 1984, currently scheduled for 5th June 2020, unless the Coronavirus delays it a year
like Fast And Furious 9… perhaps Diana Prince could use her lasso of truth on Boris?

(click on the image for the full-size 4K picture)


Detailed specs:

Running time: 122 minutes
Chapters: 13
Studio: Warner Bros
Year: 2019
Released: February 10th 2020 5000268049
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Format: 1.85:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), ARRIRAW (4.5K), ARRIRAW (6.5K), Dolby Vision)
Disc Format: BD50
Languages: Dolby Atmos True HD (English), Dolby Digital 5.1: English, Castilian Spanish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Thai
Subtitles: English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Castillian Spanish, Complex Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, European Portuguese, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovakian, Thai, Turkish

Director: Todd Phillips
Producers: Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Screenplay: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Characters: Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson
Music: Hildur Guðnadóttir

Arthur Fleck: Joaquin Phoenix
Murray Franklin: Robert De Niro
Sophie Dumond: Zazie Beetz
Penny Fleck: Frances Conroy
Thomas Wayne: Brett Cullen
Detective Burke: Shea Whigham
Detective Garrity: Bill Camp
Randall: Glenn Fleshler
Gary: Leigh Gill
Hoyt Vaughn: Josh Pais
GiGi Dumond: Rocco Luna
Gene Ufland: Marc Maron
Dr. Sally: Sondra James
Detective Burke: Shea Whigham
Detective Garrity: Bill Camp
Barry O’Donnell: Murphy Guyer
Alfred Pennyworth: Douglas Hodge
Bruce Wayne: Dante Pereira-Olson
Martha Wayne: Carrie Louise Putrello
Social Worker: Sharon Washington
Young Penny: Hannah Gross
Dr. Stoner: Frank Wood
Carl (Arkham Clerk): Brian Tyree Henry