Let’s get this out of the way: Joaquin Phoenix – and his bone-chilling laugh – is brilliant as outcast-come-madman Arthur Fleck in Joker. While many reviews have criticised director Todd Phillips’ iteration of the character as one that glorifies a man’s violent descent into madness, Phoenix’s dedication to the role is bold and, frankly, beautiful. The devastating plotline where the dark character is drawn to real world problems over capes and crusading admittedly showcases a brutal form of nihilism but its still an Oscar-worthy must-see performance at the cinema if you haven’t already.
Set in Gotham (AKA New York City) in the 70s and 80s, the film paints the town a moody shade of grey to emulate the very real atmosphere of doom at the time. Manhattan and its surrounding borough’s crime rates were high – and rising. (There were 800 homicides in 1965 and 2000 in 1972.) People didn’t really visit New York because there was no telling who was on the street. “Survival guides” labelled “Welcome To Fear City” were given to visitors, warning them against catching the subway or going out in the street past 6pm. Joker did a damn good job at showcasing this, filming in various spots around the city, in Newark and New Jersey. This means of course you can visit those also grey albeit memorable steps – the ones where Phoenix walks up as Arthur Fleck and dances down as The Joker – you just have to take a trip to The Bronx.
According to Forbes, in 2018 New York was the fifth most-visited city in the world and so, if you do find yourself travelling there any time soon, consider bookmarking this page or at least saving the below location into your Google Maps.
Enter 1170 Shakespeare Ave into Google Maps and you will find them. Here, the step passageway is located between two buildings on Shakespeare Ave and West 167th Street connecting to Anderson Avenue. Beware though, while you are attempting to take your Instagram shot, the steps will be teeming with total movie nerds. Still, it’s a good little tidbit for your Wednesday.
So tell us, what did you think of the film? It really has stirred up quite a tempest.