A Brief Joker Review

The score of discord sewn in with string instruments gives the viewer a glimpse into the world of a knotted mind which is at tense and in a state of unease, where something is very wrong. The imagery, the sound, the grit, the atmosphere, it all blends together as we see the outline of a very imperfect world where the majority live in desperate times. As we follow Arthur’s life, he means well, and his heart is in the right place. He’s soft spoken, mild tempered. Looking at him, he seems stretched thin. Like many comedians, he suffers depression, and copes with comedy by wanting to make those around him laugh. Given the lottery of life, he’s been dealt a shit hand. Reality throughout the film seems fluid, and his skewed mind bleeds into and out of his reality. When the safety net and social system collapse, and he can no longer get his meds or work with a social worker, the thread he is holding on by snaps and he loses touch completely

The moment when Arthur kills those young men, and he goes into the bathroom, that’s the moment the beast first awakens, and his appetite wets. That moment of euphoria reminds me of the word enthuse, but we need to use the Greek word enthusiasmos, for that translation of the word is when a spirit enters, and his name is Joker.At the end of the movie we see Joker in full control of Arthur, and when he laughs, and his therapist asks what is so funny, that’s the killing joke. The Joker was forged in the steel of abuse, mental illness, poverty, isolation, and failure. Aristotle wrote that the polis comes before the family. This sounds absurd, but if we look at the systematic failure that resulted in Joker, the system didn’t save Arthur as a child, Arthur had a job, but couldn’t afford mental healthcare or treatment, his poverty stretches. In comparison, our times are also difficult. 44% of our population makes below $18k. Our healthcare is only viable after we pay insurance companies a large ransom marketed as a “Deductible”. It’s not a pretty time.

Joker, the film, haunted me because I saw myself in him. I read the book of Job a couple months ago. He lost everything because God felt like a gambling man. Job, after being cursed for 40 long years, puts his hand over his mouth and remained silent as God skewered him. Job handled it with stoic resolve, but he’s a fictional character. I wonder if anyone can really handle it that well for so long. Arthur couldn’t, I wish I could have, just think if Hamlet could have just walked away, think of Frankenstein’s creature when he tries to win over the cottagers, as Arthur tried to win over whom he presumed his father was. It’s at that point, where the hearthless, stateless, lawless, man, becomes an outlaw in the making.