Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s stunning, Oscar® winning score for Todd Phillips' standalone origin story of the iconic arch-nemesis also made history when she became the first solo female to win a Golden Globe and BAFTA for best original score.
Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is a man disregarded by society. Bullied, abused and increasingly enraged, in befouled Gotham he ekes out a living as a clown, performing for tourists and children as he dreams of fame as a stand-up comedian like his hero, talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). But people never do what Arthur wants them to do. His inner torment eats at him and his ailing mother keeps harping on about everything she is owed by her former employers, the Wayne family. All of which adds to a state of mind in Arthur that is both suffocatingly disturbing and surprisingly sympathetic, even as he grows increasingly hell bent on destruction. Sometimes life is so ugly, you just have to laugh.
You can see why Todd Phillips was drawn to the 37-year-old Icelandic composer Guðnadóttir’s music. Elegiac and ghostly, with a dark, yearning heart, her score suits Joaquin Phoenix’s character study of a troubled, broken man perfectly. Talking about the process she describes sitting with her cello for quite a while, finally landing on a note that felt right for Arthur. “It was almost like it punched me in the chest. And then this physical reaction, this movement happened, because I had found his voice, found what he wanted to say.”