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Joker: Part II (2021) Film Review

Directed by: #JakeOlive

Written by: #JakeOlive

Starring: #JakeOlive


Swindon based filmmaker Jake Olive presents his direct sequel to Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019), which starred Joaquin Pheonix in an Oscar winning performance as Arthur Fleck, washed up stand up comedian who would eventually go on to take the persona of Joker.

Joker Part II (2021) is Olive’s passion project, directing, writing and starring in the film, which continues the dark character study of the misfortunate Fleck and his transformation into the notorious Clown Prince of Gotham. This brooding crime movie of epic proportions was filmed on location in Swindon and Paris, however, due to national lockdown as a result of of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of footage planned from storyboards was sadly unable to be filmed. Therefore, the final product, which was published on YouTube on Christmas Day of 2021, largely contains a screenplay reading from the director, minimal footage which the team managed to take and clips from other famous gangster movies for a visual reference.

Joker Part II (2021) poster

Despite clear differences in production design and a lower budget, Olive presents a film with admirable attention to detail with his passionate attempts to capture the same gritty, mature tone of the original movie. Although we are given very limited footage, Olive potrays Arthur/the Joker in a convincing fashion, where he has evidently watched the first movie closely to capture Pheonix’s disturbing mannerisms and painful sounding laughter. This is demonstrated by the first shot during the opening of the film, emulating the opening to Joker, where Arthur sits smoking, giggling and coughing uncontrollably it seems. Olive made a solid first impression with his performance here.

The film also makes use of Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Oscar winning score for Joker, which is integrated well into this sequel and is often used to heighten the drama of many scenes. Unfortunately, early scenes of Arthur and his psychiatrist involve a very distracting sound design, which appears distorted and unpolished and it remains unclear whether this was an intentional choice to represent Fleck’s uneasy mindset or otherwise. Despite this, the footage we do have is aesthetically pleasing to see with a grainy film quality to the image.

The movie takes heavy inspiration from cinema crime classics like The Godfather (1972) and Scarface (1983), even taking direct narrative events from these films and making them an important part of Olive’s screenplay. Although a charming addition, it is hard to deny that this does feel like plagiarising other works of art.

This sequel is well intentioned and constructed, but does come across as more a fan film than a genuine sequel to the original movie. The sad fact that the film remains largely unfinished and relies heavily on Jake’s reading of his screenplay, unfortunately results in a very lethargic viewing experience with an unavoidable disconnect due to the uncompleted product. Even accurate film footage to go along with the dialogue, the screenplay does feel overstuffed with cameos, characters and plot, taking on a large epic scale and making it difficult to see how this would have been translated to screen if the film had been able to be completed in full form.

As it is, Joker Part II makes a valiant effort to capture the dark mood and psychological terror of the original movie, yet its incomplete status and unreachable ambitions leaves a lot to be desired. A sound effort nonetheless.


Joker: Part II (2021) trailer:


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