When one thinks of Gotham City, they are quick to associate it with one of the most famous villains to come out of it, Joker. The Joker is a famous villain that society knows through comic books, and movies like The Dark Night and Suicide Squad, where he was the villian. Joker, is a recently released film that tells an origin story of how Joker came to be.
Joaquin Phoenix plays the roll of Arthur Fleck, which is the real name of Joker, and does the character justice by portraying the darkness that is within him, and helps to set the tone for the movie being ”dark” and leaves viewers feeling uncomfortable and having empathy for the violent character.
Arthur Fleck is shown as an average clown who works on the streets flipping signs in the beginning of the film, and then gets ambushed and attacked by random civilians who steal his sign. This is one of the many scenes that we begin to empathize with Arthur’s character for being mistreated based on his appearance. Viewers soon find out that he also has an illness that causes him to laugh uncontrollably, and people around him judge him on his condition. Arthur goes through therapy to try to work through his problems, but things just keep on unraveling in his life that causes him to mentaly to insane. He finds out the truth about his father, from his mother, and this begins his journey to the darkside. After finding out that there are constant lies in his life, Arthur begins to do things that start to make the audience watching to start seeing the darkness within him. Arthur kills his mom, while she’s in the hospital,with no remorse. He then stabs a coworker who comes to check up on him many times in the face, but lets the one who seems to have dwarfism go free. This allows you to see he has empathy for people who suffer in a sense like him, and shows that he isn’t so malicious. Then he goes on national television and announces that he is to be known as “Joker”, and kills the host who made fun of his disease on national television. Lastly, we assume that Arthur killed his therapist, because he leaves with a trail of blood following him after he is seen with her. This leads someone to believe, that she was the only person who knew his darkness, and the only way to have freedom from his past was to make sure she wasn’t apart of it.
When one thinks about the meaning of this movie, and the importance it has is that it calls for attention to mental illness. Joker portrays a person who is suffering from an illness that leads to his mental state being affected by all the hurtful commentary and actions of those around him. This leads one to think that if he was treated fairly, would he be in this mental state. In 2012, there was a shooting in Colorado following the release of The Dark Knight Rises, and this was a major concern with the release of Joker because society believed that someone would take the same actions today.
Social Media blew up when the movie came out, and called for it to be removed from theatres for being so dark and twisted, but that is where the issue lies. Having social media blow up about the fact that this movie can cause people to act this way, or lead to these actions occurring, will actually lead to more people being inspired to do such a sick act. People think that making something so publicized and making it a topic of discussion will lead to change, but don’t realize that it has the opposite effect. Joker is a film about someone who becomes mentally ill and leads to them taking actions that society seems wrong. The takeaway that viewers need to realize is that if people aren’t mistreated or bullied based on their appearance or behavior, then they probably would not have been pushed to the breaking point. Think about the fact that actions have consequences, so would your actions be positive or negative, and would that decision influence one to change their mentality.
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