The Joker is one of the most provocative and intriguing characters in the movie industry. His progress, mentality, and decision-making abilities impress and scare simultaneously. Todd Phillips introduces a new version of this man in his Joker of 2019. The director focuses on multiple issues to describe personal changes and social concerns. The concepts of self-identification, social impact, and alter ego as a weapon are critical in Joker to shed light on the complex personality and unpredictable human relationships.
Joker is a movie that elicited a harsh response from the crowd, resulting in a massive box office haul. Phillips hits the nail on the head regarding the audience’s expectations and shows what people want to see (Gharib, 2020). The Joker is a post-non-classical hero who emerges naturally due to society’s rejection of patriarchal principles (Gharib, 2020). Following the development of this character, it becomes clear how the masculine principle loses sight of itself, its origins, and its purposes. As a result, it gets negated and transforms into its polar opposite.
The movie can be analyzed through psychoanalytic and austere film theories. The psychoanalytic framework stresses studying the human mind, examining how narcissism, sexual desire, and unconscious ideas affect a character’s progression through a story (Cox & Levine, 2019). According to the auteur’s theoretical framework, the director is the primary artistic visionary (Cox & Levine, 2019). This notion assumes that the finest films are created by filmmakers who write and direct their films and have a distinct personal vision.
Data and Analysis: Self-Identification
The issue with the film’s self-identification is fascinating, not in the context of the continuous struggle between high and low, but in line with the fight inside the character and the film itself. Arthur Fleck’s personality is tainted by many issues, ranging from poverty and sickness to ideology and shady municipal politics. Phillips exaggerates the grotesque style inherent to comics to present the Joker as an unintentional figure of resistance, an idol of the humiliated and ridiculed (Gharib, 2020). He takes a New Hollywood approach and the already known character and develops an intriguing line of events, combining psychology, madness, and social order themes.
The director hangs a dozen guns around Fleck’s hut and the life, meticulously thinking about each detail and its impact on the character. Arthur has a psychological illness, probably, provoked by his mother’s intention to impose a slavish ideology of visible success through smiling and kind behaviors (Gharib, 2020). However, being beaten on the street by teenagers and misunderstood by his community, Arthur loses his identity and puts on the mask of the Joker. It helps him find a voice and deal with social injustice. His anguished laughter and derision become the response to the American dream’s false optimism.
Alter Ego as the Director’s Protection
To protect his character, the director offers Joker to address his alter ego and use the alter ego as the answer to his questions and problems. Arthur follows this advice, giving birth to the mad psychopath Joker, who consciously chooses destruction above all else. He kills everyone who could impact him but remains unfair and painful. He eliminates everything with a speck of humanity, severing any attachment ties in the bud. Politics emerges solely as a toolset through which the Joker was formed, for what type of leader would be without minions (Gharib, 2020). The Joker, starving for affection and acceptance, finds a fertile audience in the form of his faceless like-minded individuals.
Conclusion, Implications, and Recommendations
The tragedy of Phoenix’s Joker is a continuous controversy of personal interests, human demands, and social impact. Arthur fails in his self-identification because of his weakness against the existing community and no family support and care. This character does not have an original desire for destruction, showing care and kindness to everyone. However, the absence of love and understanding is dangerous, and the chosen concepts imply the inability to resist the world’s injustice and cruelty. It is recommended to continue evaluating the relationships between social impact and self-identification to reveal positive and negative aspects of different situations.
Cox, D., & Levine, M. (2019). Psychoanalysis and film. In R. Gipps & M. Lacewing (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy and psychoanalysis (pp. 513-530). Oxford University Press.
Gharib, S. (2020). Todd Phillips’ Joker. Cinematic Codes Review, 5(1), 78-107.