Directed by Todd Phillips and co-written by Phillips and AFI Alum Scott Silver (AFI Class of 1992), JOKER (2019) features a transformative and terrifying central performance from Joaquin Phoenix, headlining a stunning supporting cast that includes Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brian Tyree Henry and AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Robert De Niro. The film was recognized in the year of its release with an AFI AWARD, naming it among the most outstanding motion pictures of year. According to the official rationale, “JOKER smiles while your heart is breaking. Todd Phillips’ intoxicating take on Gotham’s clown prince ignited a global following by inspiring audiences to consider the mask we wear to conceal the volcanic anxiety in the world today. Joaquin Phoenix’s bravura performance is one for the ages – on the outside, exploding beyond the screen in a metamorphosis of balletic contortions – and on the inside, begging empathy for a madman as he dances down the steps of darkness.”
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