Joker Has Everyone Shocked

Gabi Wilson, Reporter

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Joker is a fantastic movie that came out on October 4, 2019. The film was directed by Todd Phillips. Joker takes place in the 1980s, and is about a man named Arthur Fleck. He has a mental illness where he randomly bursts out laughing. Arthur goes through life bullied, lonely, and overall unhappily. When he realizes that his life is upsetting, Arthur falls down a slow downward spiral to complete insanity. He becomes the Joker and can’t see how his fowl actions are wrong. Warning: there are spoilers ahead. 

Phillips also directed blockbuster hits such as The Hangover. He is very skilled in making comedies. They didn’t know if he could pull off a dark movie like this, but he did and exceptionally well. The main character, Arthur, was played by Joaquin Phoenix, who had to play a difficult role and did a phenomenal job. There were rumors that Phoenix didn’t choose to watch any other portrayals of the “Joker” because he wanted to create his own Joker. If this is true, you can tell because he doesn’t resemble any other Jokers. 

Many other movies containing the Joker, such as Batman, and The Dark Knight, have followed timelines similar to the comic books. This movie seemed to stray from the original comics, though, as it seemed more realistic. Even though they are different, Joker still kept original content like the fact that Batman’s parents are killed in an alley right in front of him by a man in a clown mask. 

Arthur was treated unfairly by various people throughout the course of the film. The movie did this so that we would almost take pity or feel bad for him. This of course changed when I saw what he did later on. Arthur says “my life is a comedy” a few times as the movie goes on. I translate this to possibly mean his life is a joke but he laughs anyways. The Joker may have created Batman, but society created the Joker through the way he was treated. 

I think that we should discuss one of the biggest surprises at the end. Was most of the movie made up in Arthur’s head? What was truly real and what was made up? We find out near the end of the movie that many things, such as Arthur having a girlfriend, were all fake. What if the parts where someone showed Arthur affection were the parts where he was lying to himself and creating something that isn’t real? The moments when he is happiest always seemed to be the moments when things are not true. Arthur creates his own fantasies. This really solidified the fact that you cannot trust the Joker. 

Joker decided to get some of its content straight from history. Gotham is a city filled with crime and terror. In 1984 to 1990 there was a crack epidemic in the US. This increased the amount of crime and death in America. On December 22, 1984 there were four young teens murdered on a subway in New York supposedly out of self defense. Sound familiar? In Joker, Arthur murdered 3 young men out of self defense. 

The movie had several themes in it. Everyone is commenting on how it made a statement on mental health. The film shows how public funding for mental illness has been cut several times throughout the year. Joker shows how this doesn’t end up well in the end. Another theme is that society can flip on a dime because it is fragile. Once Arthur did one bad thing, a mob mentality set in and triggered a revolution of “rich vs poor”. In the movie there was a scene where Arthur was watching Charlie Chaplin as he skated around blindfolded about to fall off of a ledge. This is at a point in the movie where Arthur is struggling to not fall off the ledge of sanity.

I have so many unanswered questions about Joker: Did Arthur escape from the mental institution at the end? Did he kill his fake girlfriend and neighbor, Sophie because he had the mentality, “If I can’t have you no one can”?  I would definitely recommend that you watch this movie if you are looking for a movie that will leave you pondering its ending. This psychological thriller was incredibly well done and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. You can tell that every transition was carefully thought out. Every scene has its own cinematic value. Even though some scenes are questionable on content, you have to appreciate the movie for its entertainment value.