Taxi Driver Screenwriter, Paul Schrader, Not a Fan of Joaquin Phoenix

Over the course of his career, Joaquin Phoenix has solidified his standing as one of the most potent performers of the century. As proven in a diverse range of films, Phoenix consistently serves up A-list performances, from “The Master”, “Her”, “Joker”, to “Two Lovers”, “Inherent Vice”, and “Beau is Afraid”.

Not Everyone’s a Fan

Despite the acclaim, not everyone is on the Phoenix bandwagon. Paul Schrader, for one, recently shared a candid gem on his Facebook:

Everyone has actors they just don’t “get.” First on my list Joaquin Phoenix.

Paul Schrader on Facebook

The Mumble Factor

Indeed, some see Phoenix as the most mumbly of actors. Critics have said he doesn’t clearly annunciate his lines. While this may not be far from the truth, it also misses the point of Phoenix’s deliberately stylized and uncalibrated acting.

A Reasonable Argument

Now, is Phoenix the best actor of the 21st century? There’s a case for a discussion. His uniquely unpredictable style mirrors the mood of the era perfectly.

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The Transformation

In the early days of his career, Phoenix was a grounded and “normal” actor. Around 2008, however, a shift occurred — marked by strange behavior and a memorable appearance on the David Letterman show in 2009.

The newfound vulnerability and unpredictability of this ‘new’ Joaquin ended up, somewhat astonishingly, improving his acting abilities. Those who have worked with him often mention his immersive preparations for the characters, frequently blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

A Blossoming Performance

Despite speculations on what triggered the shift, Phoenix’s artistry has flourished with some of the most surreal and intense performances ever witnessed on screen. One such performance that stands out is Phoenix’s portrayal of Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” An amalgamation of 21st-century nonconformist anxieties, Phoenix’s character is humorous, melancholic, terrifying, and ultimately puzzling. It stands unrivaled as the shining example of his unconventional brilliance.

Explore more exceptional performances from Joaquin Phoenix and others in curated collections of award-winning films and TV shows at HITPLAY. Let’s HitPlay!