Don’t you hate it when you go to a movie to enjoy for a couple of hours but instead you come out rethinking your entire life decisions and cry yourself to sleep due to crippling depression and then later wake up to realise you were just glad to watch such a beautiful movie? Joker gave me such roller coaster of emotions before, during and after the movie. First you laugh at the protoginist, get angry at him and then later you laugh with him, cry with him, cry for him, get angry with him and in the end you feel sad because the movie is over. This was one of the movies where you know things aren’t going to end well and still feel bad when it eventually happens.
The eccentricity of the characters and everyone playing along confuses us initially. We keep searching for the straight man so that we can relate to at least someone in the movie. And we feel happy when the eccentricity is finally acknowledged. We laugh when the characters are made fun of like we would want to if it happened for us. As the character develops, we realise an arc in our emotions. Mannar mannan, played by the ever brilliant Somasundaram, wants to right all the wrongs in the society. And since someone told him that the president is the only one having that much power, he appoints himself as the president of India and starts to fight for everything. In this tale of brilliance, we travel through a lot of unique protests, a beautiful love story and an expected tragic ending but in an unexpected way. The best of movies are the ones that makes the audience realise their character arcs.
It had the right amount of preachiness expect for the final fourth-wall breaking monologue. The right amount of emotions, which went a little overboard in cuckoo. And the right amount of laughs, just like cuckoo. And as with cuckoo, the music truly takes Joker to the next level. It might be because I have been looping the album since it released but I’m sure the movie will also make people who haven’t listened to the songs yet to loop them hereafter. I loved how we keep listening to variations of ennanga sir and mannar theme initially and then we get introduced to jasmine-u during the inevitable but non-creepy stalking portions and the seamless transition to ola ola kudusaiyila when we feel the romance and finally chellamma knocking it out of the park that it keeps ringing even hours after the movie. If this doesn’t put Sean Roldan in the league of giants, I don’t know what will.
The narrative introduces us to the right amount of details for every character for us to connect the dots and create a platform for their development. So soon into the movie we start to agree that that is how the character would react for a situation like this, a point which some movies never reach. Mannar mannan doesn’t fight back like Anniyan. He even goes through the tiring procedure of getting the court’s permission to euthanise his wife. His hands tremble while holding a knife while trying to stab a guy. He wants to be a role model for everyone but he keeps breaking the law in the form of protests and in the prison he refuses to use a cell phone because it is illegal. Even when everyone else find him amusing, the two people with him always play along. They understand that they are fighting the right fight and we also do. We don’t question their brains but we emote with them.
I just hope that people who make movies with ‘messages’ learn something from Joker. This had everything that all those movies didn’t. This was a movie that asked a lot of questions. Not a preachy message sold in the form of a movie. None of these movies are going to change anything but the least one could do is make it like-able. And Raju Murugan hit the right spot with Joker.