The Joker score comes directly from a grim Batman movie. This might be an obvious choice for a DC independent villain, but writer and director Todd Phillips made one thing clear in advance of the release: He did not want to do comic film.
But in the end, Joker – that was Arthur Fleck's (Joaquin Phoenix) show from top to bottom – bends hard left into the Batman area, as if he were hounded by Hildur Guðnadóttir, the Icelandic composers, orchestra urged there. The election speaks (aloud) of the mystery Phillips's referential drama faces, and of future imitators hoping for their own massive box office win: What does a prestigious comic film sound like?
Until the climax, the score of Joker relies on elongated strings to create a feeling of fear. A few lilies up and down provide the softest thread of a melody, but otherwise the music seems more than anything drone. Then, as the unfolding events reach a critical mass, these almost formless sounds give way to a rhythmic rhythm and echo that stands out in the theme of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, a series that also called itself anything but a similar is comic movie.
Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard invented in 2005 the first sounds for Nolan's Crusader Batman Begins with much more operatic sound . Three years later, they re-invented the sound of the Joker as Zimmer composed a theme consisting of only two notes (and razor-tipped strings) and defied every tune for over a minute.
The recall ̵
The dissonance of Joker's comic film music never fits Phoenix's performance. The groaning strings of the score seem to be out of harmony with Arthur's frenetic energy and reflect the use of the pop songs on the surface, aiming for a "serious" sound instead of working together with what is happening on the screen.
The Best Cinematic Character Studies Collaborate with Their Scores: Jonny Greenwood's Soundtrack for There Will Be Blood builds the excitement and insanity of his main character. The fluctuating moods in Bernard Herrmann's music for Taxi Driver contribute to distancing Travis Bickle from reality. In Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation the piano score of composer David Shire along with Harry Cauls (Gene Hackman) leads him to indulge in paranoia instead of overwriting or shorthand. There are ways music can get into the minds of characters and audiences.
In an effort to stay away from more obvious melodic or "colorful" themes, Joker recalls the audience's origins both in comics and in Batman's story on the canvas. It is no surprise that Batman is included in the story of Arthur Fleck – the music was called inevitable from the beginning.