If there’s a film that ranks as the most anticipated film of 2019 then it’s easily Todd Phillips’ Joker. This unique portrait of Batman’s arch-nemesis transformation has been lauded on the festival circuit and now we’re just a week out from its release down here.
To get you pumped for the madness that is coming to cinemas we’ve assembled a list of five films you need to watch before you see Joker.
Check them out below:
5. Wall Street
Joker is set to take place in the early 1980s in a very polarized Gotham City, and if there’s a film that defined the heights of 1980s excess then it was undoubtedly 1987’s Wall Street. An examination of America’s corporate financial structure, and those who rule it, Wall Street would also introduce audiences to corporate raiding tycoon Gordon Gekko as played magnificently by Michael Douglas and the mantra of greed is good stuck. Wall Street is a great parable to Joker in the form of the character of Thomas Wayne, played by Brett Cullen, who from early footage has all of the trademarks of Gekko’s power broker, and is said to be less sympathetic in this film than previous versions. How villainous Thomas Wayne ultimately is remains to be seen, but it’s clear to see the influence that Gekko’s greed for power has over him.
4. Requiem for a Dream
Director Darren Aronofsky’s shocking tale of four lost souls in Coney Island, New York hit audiences like a sledgehammer upon its release in 2000 and it remains to this day as one of the most traumatic and rich cinema experiences you’ll ever see. Set during the late 1970s and following the rise of the New York heroin epidemic, Requiem for a Dream is a story of dreams dreamt and ultimately lost, and its experimental and original visual look is also palatable in relationship to Joker. Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans and Jennifer Connelly all give tremendously moving performances here, and the film has plenty of scarring moments that will cause you to not look away.
3. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
If ever there was a film that revelled in the idea of madness reigning supreme then it’s 1962’s suspenseful horror film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. This terrifying piece of psychological horror pulls together themes of past traumas, failed artistry and the horrors of madness and is haunting in its delivery of them. Starring screen legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who loathed each other in real life, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is a horror film that gets into your soul, and is sure to traumatize you for life. It’s a solid creepfest and decades later is celebrated as one of the scariest films ever made. If you’re looking forward to the madness of Joker, then this is a good one to start with.
2. Taxi Driver
Joker director Todd Phillips has been very open with the fact that the style and subject matter of Joker holds a lot to the influence of director Martin Scorsese, and if there’s one Scorsese film that you have to watch in anticipation of Joker then it’s undoubtedly Taxi Driver. Starring Robert DeNiro as burnt out Vietnam veteran turned taxi driver Travis Bickel, Taxi Driver is a unique portrait of a lonely man stuck in an urban wasteland who slowly begins to crack under the pressure and explodes with murderous action. Regarded as a screen masterpiece upon its release, Taxi Driver remains one of Scorsese’s most treasured films. With its unique visual style and exploration of a decaying urban landscape, not to mention its portrait of a distraught and lost human being, Taxi Driver is a must watch ahead of Joker.
1. The Man Who Laughs
If there is one single visual influence to which the character of the Joker holds its creation to then it is undoubtedly the character of the disfigured Gwynplaine as played by German expressionistic actor Conrad Veidt in 1928’s The Man Who Laughs. Now regarded in the scope of modern cinema as a horror film, upon its original release The Man Who Laughs was intended as a melodrama, and it’s from this dark, gothic and moody piece of cinema that Todd Phillips turned to in a direct form of inspiration to craft his vision for Joker. Bound by tragedy and lost love, The Man Who Laughs is a film that certainly touches a chord with moviegoers and with Joker’s similar thematic sensibilities its a film audiences should make the effort to try and see ahead of the film’s release.
Joker will arrive in cinemas on October 3.