Entering the Life of The Joker

Graphic by Hannah Perri, that displays the classic Joker look and eerie grin.

Graphic by Hannah Perri

Graphic by Hannah Perri, that displays the classic Joker look and eerie grin.

Cole Harkins, Writer

    Joaquin Phoenix nails the role of playing the menatlly ill and tortured soul that is the Joker, especially when he displays his chilling and menacing laugh. Arthur Fleck is a struggling, for-hire clown working for a clown agency, which really sets up and foreshadows the inevitable ending of him becoming the Joker. In the movie, Arthur Fleck struggles with Pseudobulbar Affect, which is a disorder that makes one laugh uncontrollably at things that do not match their real feelings or emotions. This uncontrollable laughing is funny at the beginning, but becomes more and more eerie as the movie goes on, and his scrawny and beaten body does not help with that.

    Arthur Fleck, living and caring for his mother in a small apartment in a failing Gotham City in need of change. The high crime and pandemonium of Gotham City gives it a connection to the Batman movies, which I feel is key for the audience to relate. After being fired from the clown agency, things begin to take a turn for the worse and Arthur begins to display his mental illness. Arthur being a normal man with a normal job gives the feeling that people around me could be feeling or acting out this way without me knowing. The scene when he is on his way from home from being fired,  is attacked on a train, and then shoots the three men was a moment of clarity and joy for him. When he kills the men, and at this point the audience can really start to see the true Joker character. This is a key turning point, where the viewer starts to see a mentally ill man blossom and lose control of his actions and thoughts.

    These killings become the talk of the town and gives him the confidence to pursue comedic dream. When he does his first stand up, he laughs uncontrollably through his act, making you feel remorse for him. While his act is going on, his mother suffers a stroke and his hospitalized. I feel when he starts to uncover more and more about his and his mother’s past, learning his mother was mentally ill and abused him as a child, that it was hard for him and confusing moment because he always thought that his mom was great innocent person. When he figures this out he suffocates his mother in the hospital which I feel confirms his deranged and mentally ill mind.

    His comedy act leads to recognition from his favorite talk show host Murray Franklin. While introducing, Arthur Fleck asks to be introduced as The Joker. I feel his name almost has a deeper meaning then it ever did before, because of the display of mental illness and watching his first killings with the amusement he found with it. 

    During the interview the Joker admits to the three killings. I think this was a great way of foreshadowing that something eventful was about to happen. I feel somewhat predictably he kills the talk show host Murray, on live television. Which was a great way of presenting to a large audi I feel this was to show a push to join the riot towards the upper class and political authority and gain the trust if you will of the people. This shows how a broken and tortured environment can turn the majority of people crazy. If you are surrounded by mentally ill and unstable environment then becoming mentally ill yourself is inevitable. 

    While on the way to the police station, he is broken out of the cop car by the riot towards the political power. He then stands on top of the cop car and dances I feel this is the symbol of him achieving power and opposition to authority. I feel this was a great last image showing that someone metally ill can think they accomplished something, when they actually do something horrendous. The point I feel they are trying to get across is that, these acts of violence are terrible. But people with mental issues may think it is totally sane judst.

    “Joker” really dives deep in the mind of a deranged and metally ill man. It gives a strong perspective to the problem of mental illness in our everyday lives. This movie I think has a much deeper meaning nowadays it would have in the past.

This movie I feel was not only to entertain the audience but an eye opener for those who do not think mental illness is a serious problem or do not understand the severity of it.

Hopefully this movie will start a strong initiative to try and help aid with such a strong problem.