The Todd Phillips-directed Joker is rated R for “strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images,” according to a rating displayed on the official movie website.
Star Marc Maron earlier characterized the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker as a “character study of a mentally ill person that becomes the Joker,” calling the standalone “an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope.”
A representative for the Toronto International Film Festival, where Joker will be the first comic book movie screened as a Gala presentation in September, said the film brings to mind the works of Taxi Driver filmmaker Martin Scorsese and exhibits “an interesting tone and approach” to its DC Comics-inspired source material.
“It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look,” Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of TIFF, told the Toronto Sun. “It has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”
Bailey’s praise comes after producer Michael E. Uslan, the longtime shepherd of the Batman franchise for Warner Bros., promised Joker is “unlike any comic book movie you’ve ever seen.”
“I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was different and unique when it came out. I thought Deadpool was different and unique when it came out. This Joker movie is different and unique and it’s unlike any comic book movie you’ve ever seen,” Uslan said during a Germany convention appearance. “It’s maybe more like a Martin Scorsese, low-budget film noir crime drama, but I have all the faith in the world in Todd, the brilliantly talented Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro. It’s an incredible, incredible group of people that’s brought this to life.”
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Robert De Niro, Joker opens October 4.
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