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Joaquin Phoenix Is Absolutely Terrifying in the 'Joker' Trailer

"I used to think my life was a tragedy. But now I realize it’s a comedy."

by River Donaghey
Apr 3 2019, 2:31pm

Joaquin Phoenix is finally here as the Clown Prince of Crime, everybody, and he is fully terrifying. The first trailer for Todd Phillips's long-awaited Joker origin film dropped Wednesday morning, and, by God, this thing looks absolutely fantastic.

"My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face," Phoenix as Joker alter-ego Arthur Fleck says as he slumps around Gotham looking like a sad, grown-up Lord Farquaad. "She told me I had a purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the world."

Joker has been pulling in Taxi Driver comparisons ever since we found out that it was set in a gritty, 1970s NYC version of Gotham and had Scorsese attached, and the trailer definitely delivers. From the look of it, Fleck is a loner living on the fringes who, after getting mugged by some dudes in an alleyway and then beat up by some bros on the subway, decides to dress up like a clown and exact a little revenge, like some kind of Charles Bronson with a penchant for facepaint.

Fleck dresses up like a clown a few times throughout the two-and-a-half-minute trailer, wearing a bozo wig and red nose at one point, but it isn't until the end that we get to see him in his full, unhinged Joker getup—thankfully, without any emo face tattoos. The shot of him decked out as the Joker, dancing down a set of stairs, is both gorgeous and deeply unsettling—a combination you find throughout the trailer.

“I used to think my life was a tragedy," Phoenix-as-Fleck says. "But now I realize it’s a comedy."

Joker also stars Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, and Robert De Niro, and it's set to hit theaters on October 4. Until then, put on a happy face and watch the trailer above. This one's going to be good.

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