Don’t worry I’m not going to turn into a media critic. However, I do think that there are many lessons which we can learn from the movie. The movie was supposedly set in the 1980s, however, we can see many ideas which are relevant for today.
By the weekend of Oct 12th I assume that many people will have seen the Joker movie. I know that many people will wait a few more weeks or completely wait for the video. In the meantime, I do believe that there are some interesting ideas that the writers, director or producers have adeptly put together for the entertainment and I would also say enlightenment of the audience. I will attempt to dissect what the Joker is attempting to convey.
If you have not seen the movie, this may contain some spoilers. And please don’t worry, I do not claim to be a movie critic, although I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. (Not really). The movie attempts to bring to light 3 interesting ideas. I will briefly expound upon those ideas, or at least what I took away.
First is the idea of mental illness and how society views those who suffer from that disease. The protagonist, Arthur Fleck, AKA Joker is dealing with mental illness and is astute enough to understand that his disease and depression is worsening. Consequently, he asks his counselor to increase his meds. The counselor refuses and then coldly informs Fleck that the city funding has been cut and they will no longer have any future sessions. Of course, Fleck is clearly disappointed and the pain of evident on his face. Fleck also understands how society views his mental illness and I believe this exacerbates his depression and feelings of isolation.
The second point is the societal and class divide which is plaguing the city. In the opening scene of the movie, we hear that there is a sanitation worker strike. Imagine for a minute what is entailed in sanitation workers strike. What kinds of pests are now running the streets and filling the alleyways. What does the aroma of the city smell like on a day to day basis? How many workers and families suffering due to the strike? Are people able to traverse the streets without stepping over piles of garbage or fleeing rodents? I also consider the question that if there’s a sanitation worker strike and they are cutting back on mental health services, does Gotham City have enough finances to pay their teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other city employees?
The third piece of information ties into the second and deals with the 1%. The wealthy who, no matter what the lower classes are suffering from, are seen behind their gated communities, or in opera houses living in the lap of luxury. One of the representatives of the 1%, Thomas Wayne, is considering a run for mayor of the struggling city. The writers view him as a bombastic type of figure who puts on a front for some time, but when the rubber meets the road, shows us his true colors. In one scene when asked about the struggling lower classes, the aspiring mayor calls them clowns. Hmmmm, I wonder where they got the inspiration for such as figure?
All of these factors, mental health coupled with society’s view, the struggling economics of a city and class warfare and are all that Gotham can take and the powder keg finally explodes during the last scene. The shocking murder of the talk show host, Murray Franklin, one of the 1% which leads to the riots in the street, capped with the brutal murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne send the audiences reeling.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed the movie and believe they did an excellent job in breathing life into an enigmatic comic book character. Fortunately, we know that brighter days are ahead for Gotham City. I sincerely hope that our real society understands the lessons of the past and takes the appropriate actions to deter disaster before it strikes. For a more detailed analysis of the Joker movie, check out my review on Captain Hunter’s Podcast.
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