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Joker takes top prize at Venice Film Festival

By Donnie Lederer

The Clown Prince of Crime is now the Golden Lion of Venice.

When Todd Phillips’ Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, was first announced, many were (and still are) skeptical. Since Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance, only Jared Leto has taken on the role of Batman’s chief nemesis. Would Phoenix be able to bring something new to the table? If the current reviews are any indication, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

After this year’s Venice Film Festival, we can start referring to the film as Todd Phillips’ award-winning Joker. Reported by Variety, the movie won the Golden Lion this Saturday. The Golden Lion is the top prize of the festival. A jury led by Lucrecia Martel chose Joker to receive the award.

Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck, an unsuccessful stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime, eventually descending into becoming one of the worst villains in the DC Universe. Not relying on a specific origin story from the comic books, the movie acts as a “character study” on one of DC’s most notorious creations.

Joker, written by Phillips and Scott Silver and starring Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bret Cullen, and Frances Conroy, opens in theaters October 4.