SADLY, IT DID CROSS MY MIND IF any of the theater patrons were looking at me as a threat; these are the times we live in now. I was the only one, as far as I could see, who was wearing a jacket inside the theater. Following my usual routine, I was standing outside in the hallway of the theater waiting for the previews to begin. I was observing the people walking in and then guessing if they were here to see the same movie as me. There was so much buzz about today’s film, I assumed it would only make people more curious to see it. With the film being shown in several of the movie theaters of the multiplex, I watched as the people filtered into the individual theaters that lined the long hallway. Sure enough, there were several couples who had their children with them to see this picture. I cannot tell you how much this always upsets me; taking young children to R rated films, especially when the rating is meant for the level of violence depicted in the movie. As I was looking at these families, I wondered what affect this film would have on these young kids. From there my mind began wandering off, where I started remembering some of my classmates when I was back in school. IT SEEMED AS IF EACH CLASSROOM had at least one bully, one creepy and one scary student. I think I mentioned in a past movie review a student I knew who was unkind to animals. He was not someone I ever associated with and for good reason. There was also a classmate who found it funny to make snowballs with a rock in the center of them. He equally enjoyed throwing these snowballs at kids and buses. I can still remember the feeling I had around certain students; they never showed any remorse or concern for the individuals they harmed. They scared me, causing me to always be cautious around them. Anytime I would see one of them in the hallway between classes, I would veer off as far as I could to the side, so as not to get in close contact with them. As I am writing this review, I am now recalling how one of these scary students wanted to enlist in the military so he could kill people. What I have just written in this review is to show you how today’s dramatic, crime thriller affected me when I went to see it. BEFORE THERE WAS A BATMAN THERE was Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix (Her, You Were Never Really Here), who wanted to be a stand-up comic. How in the world did telling jokes turn into a deadly profession? Find out in this film festival winning movie. With Robert De Niro (The Comedian, Dirty Grandpa) as Murray Franklin, Zazie Beetz (Geostorm, Deadpool 2) as Sophie Dumond, Frances Conroy (The Aviator, Six Feet Under-TV) as Penny Fleck and Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider, Person of Interest-TV) as Thomas Wayne; this film was disturbing to watch. Joaquin was unbelievable in the role. Having lost 52 pounds, I had a hard time looking at Joaquin; most of his bones had become prominent. The story plotted out a logical progression in the transformation of his character; however, there were times I felt it was predictable and reminiscent of a couple of other films I had seen in the past. With both the script and the filming having a darkness to it; I could understand the concerns people have expressed about this origin story. Ultimately this is a fictional film movie based on a cartoon character; but, it certainly will make you wonder.
Since I have seen it happen before I wonder or more accurately worry that the memories in my mind will slowly dissipate like deflating balloons, ever drifting downward towards a black abyss. I have read the latest studies about diet and exercise; I hope following them will, if the air in my memories has to leave at some point, at least slow down the leakage. When it comes to remembering loved ones both deceased and alive, I know there are many different ways people honor and maintain their memories of the person. Some make visits to the cemetery to replace previously left flowers with new ones. Other people make a donation to a charity or acquire something of significance to remind them of the person. I am not a believer in cemeteries or burials so my methods of remembering may not be conventional. I believe I have mentioned before the ceramic vase I have that is my memory about a deceased friend; for another friend I bought a few shares in the utility company that services the city of my friend’s birthplace. Every 3 months I receive mail that provides an update about the company. In the brochure there are always pictures of the city that remind me of my friend, keeping their memory active in my mind. The city looks beautiful and one day I hope I can go visit it to walk around the neighborhood where they grew up. Recently while talking with a relative, when they asked what I would want done with my ashes, I mentioned a few places I would like some of my ashes to be spread. With a straight face they asked if I expected them to do a year long tour of all the cities I wanted them to visit. Maybe I will have to narrow my list down; at least I would not ask them to visit a place like the beach that was in this dramatic, horror thriller. WHEN visiting a faraway secluded beach that had special significance for her family Nancy, played by Blake Lively (The Age of Adaline, Green Lantern), wanted to take in the location’s beauty. Sadly the place could become her last memory. This movie was pretty much all about Blake’s character; the other actors such as Oscar Jaenada (Cantinflas, The Losers) as Carlos and Brett Cullen (Red Dawn, Person of Interest-TV) as Nancy’s father were very minor characters. Luckily, Blake put in a strong performance that kept me interested in the story. Now as for the story, it was farfetched almost to the point of silly. However, for cheap thrills and good tense moments this picture provided these elements along with a couple of bloody scenes. Honestly I do not feel one has to run out right away to see this film; but if you have some free time with nothing to do, then this movie would do. If nothing else I thought the scenery was gorgeous; I would not mind seeing such a place in person. For now that is the most vivid memory I have of the movie, but it is not like I am going to frame my movie ticket to keep the memory alive.
2 3/4 stars