‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Breaks Down the Opening Scene

The Joker is the No. 1 movie at the box office and a cultural sensation. How did director Todd Phillips nail the opening scene?

Unlike some of our other columnists, I spent the money and saw Joker opening weekend.

The movie is a twisted descent into insanity that follows Arthur Fleck as life treats him like a dog and he succumbs to his more animalistic tendencies and learns to laugh — as horror beleaguers the city of Gotham. There are parts I liked, parts I didn’t, but overall I think superhero movies are better for Joker existing. I think the door is open for new tones and genres, and at the end of the day that means more jobs for us writers and directors.

One thing I did admire about Joker was the direction and cinematography.

Lucky for us, Todd Phillips recently broke down the opening scene and discussed his tactics when it comes to opening a movie. I think it’s a valuable lesson in pacing and tension. So let’s diagram what Joker got right.

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