Joker 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 247, January 2020

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros . Home Entertainment
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Strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Todd Phillips
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"Joker" follows Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), who forever alone in a crowd, longs for any light to shine on him. Trying his hand as a stand-up comic, he finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty and, ultimately, betrayal, Arthur makes one bad decision after another that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events. (Gary Reber)

Special features include four featurettes: "Becoming Joker" (HD 01:25), "Joker: Vision & Fury" (HD 22:25), "Please Welcome...Joker!" (HD 02:44) and "Joker: A Chronicle Of Chaos" (HD 03:04); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa 65, Arri Alexa LF, and Arri Alexa Mini camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture exhibits a very filmic appearance and is naturally hued with excellent color fidelity. Lawrence Sher's cinematography is superb with dramatic plays on lighting effects and contrast, often in darkly lit Gotham's dense environments. Deep blacks and shadows also enhance the dark, seedy character of the imagery. Color is used as accents, such as the bright, saturated color in Arthur's clown costume. The wide color gamut exhibits fine nuances in hues throughout. Fleshtones are perfectly natural, revealing the excruciating complexion of Arthur's brutally abused body. At times the imagery appears filtered in various settings, enhanced with dramatic lighting to create the gritty nature of Arthur's environments. Resolution is excellent. Fine detail is exhibited throughout, for a very natural appearance. Close-ups are particularly revealing of facial features such as complexions, lines, skin pores, clown makeup, hair and beard stubble. Clothing and clown costumes are revealing of fabrics, and all manner of object textures enhance the raw realism of Gotham settings, both in interiors and exteriors. The picture also is very filmic in character, though, shot digitally.

WOW! segments are from 12:07 to 15:15, 15:48 to 17:44, 28:00 to 29:22, 33:08 to 36:13, 43:02 to 45:12, 01:03:10 to 01:07:10, 01:24:27 to 01:25:12, 01:38:15 to 01:45:42 and 01:46:46 to 01:52:30.

This a very cinematic presentation in which the camera becomes an important character. The imagery is artistically creative on all levels, for an impressive reference picture. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding with varied soundscapes that comprise the Gotham setting. The expansive orchestral score occupies a wide and deep soundstage that completely envelops the soundfield with extension to the four surrounds, The score delivers a powerful presence, though, at times the music reverts to a collapsing background dimension. Atmospherics are incredibly realistic, both during outdoor scenes and within the confines of Arthur's one-bedroom apartment, clown dressing room, night club, TV set and other building interiors. Sound effects are supportive and never over-exaggerated, yet enhanced at times with powerful bass enhancement. At times, deep bass segments extend to sub-25 Hz frequencies. Dialogue is consistently intelligible with excellent spatial integration throughout. In one segment, the dialogue is aggressively directionalized throughout the soundfield, bounding from one loudspeaker channel to the next.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of segments of aggressive music extension, strong Gotham street and other ambient sounds and sound effects, which include the sound of a bus engine, subway announcement "keep clear of doors," and an instant police car crash sound. Much more could have been achieved to enhance the spherical surround sound dimension but was not created.

This is an exceedingly well-crafted holosonic® ear-level soundtrack with an effective extension of the orchestral score, and overall perfectly brings Gotham alive and supports the storytelling of a flawed, brutal, broken-hearted character and his transformation to the "Joker." (Gary Reber)