Todd Phillips’ Joker is one of the year’s most jarring and introspective films. Delving into the origin story of Batman’s arch-nemesis Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, the film follows the brutalization of the failed stand-up comedian and party clown, his descent into madness, and creation of his alter ego. As Fleck, Joaquin Phoenix slowly fleshes out and then gets lost in the mind of the Joker, the film adeptly showing the diminishing duality between Fleck and Joker. Phoenix’s transition from shy recluse to absolute maniac is done perfectly, using pivotal moments in the film as fuel for quintessential character development. The music score compliments the immense levels of suspense, paralleling the deterioration of Fleck’s well-being. Through unsettling nuances, Joker forces audiences to question the motivations and morality, or lack thereof, behind the clowns heinous actions. While there are a few weak bits and pieces of the narrative, they aren’t enough to take away from Phoenix’s superb performance and the film as a whole.