- 03 Apr 19
Joaquin Phoenix. You know him, you watch him, you’re both intrigued by and terrified of him. It’s okay – we all are. The Oscar-nominated actor is a fascinating, intense and compelling performer, who inexplicably seems to fly under the radar during most awards seasons. His attraction to independent films and eccentric roles usually means that his projects are too obscure to be recognised by major awards ceremonies, though he has received three Oscar nominations for Gladiator, Walk The Line and The Master. But some of his greatest work has gone overlooked, including his performance in Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here last year. Ramsey’s powerful and artistic thriller saw Phoenix play a traumatised veteran and contract killer who is hired to track down a young girl sold into sexual slavery. The actor perfectly captured the character’s fractured mind, showcasing an intensity that can swerve from unnerving innocence to brooding truculence.
Last year also saw Phoenix play Jesus in Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene, where Phoenix’s slightly otherworldly quality perfectly lent him the transcendent charisma and vulnerability required of the role. His performance was also largely overlooked, but this year is set to bring Phoenix’s talent to the fore.
Today, the latest trailer was released for Joker, where Phoenix will play the now iconic villain in Too Phillips’ origin story. The trailer gives us our first real look at Phoenix’s interpretation of the character, a clown and comedian from Gotham named Arthur who falls on hard times, musing “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” Over the course of the trailer, we see his descent into madness, appearing at the very end in costume as the classic villain.
Excitement is high for the highly-anticipated film, and Phoenix seems like a great choice for the role, as he will again be allowed to combine his offbeat humour, melancholic air and volcanic energy.
But Phoenix’s role in Joker is not the only upcoming performance that we’re excited about. Fans of Phoenix should definitely get a ticket for his latest film, the Western The Sisters Brothers, which is released this Friday, April 5. Directed by acclaimed director Jacques Audiard and co-starring John C. Reilly, this bleak yet funny adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s novel sees Phoenix play to his strengths. As an assassin named Charlie, Phoenix is wild, drunk and mercurial who murders his targets with ruthless efficiency – before engaging in some slagging sibling rivalry with Reilly’s character, Eli. Phoenix gets to harness both his intensity and his often underrated comic ability, showing some serious slapstick chops as he takes more than one drunken tumble from his horse.
If The Sisters Brothers is anything to go by, 2019 is set to be a stellar year for Phoenix, and we are looking forward to the ever unpredictable but always interesting ride.