What if a comic book movie wasn’t a superhero movie? What if it was stripped of all fantasy and derring-do and recast in grim reality and the style of vintage Martin Scorsese? No heroes, no fight sequences, no damsels in distress.

Now that sounds truly fantastical. Yet here it is. Todd Phillips’s Joker is not a reboot but a reinvention of a movie genre, elevated above all by a frighteningly good performance from Joaquin Phoenix.

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