DC Takes A Deep Dive Into The Dark World Of The Joker


The Joker: This is another of DC’s attempts at delving into the darkest elements of the human condition…And this time they succeed.

After having watched a number of their animated programs, which seem to only focus on characters being able to swear and such, this character we see his mental breakdown. It is the story of how the world around him chips away at his mental fortitude until it finally collapses.  During the course of the story, you forget that you’re in Gotham City. The name of the city is rarely mentioned. The only references to Gotham is Arkham asylum.

This film is set in a  realistic interpretation of what it would have been like in the 70s in Gotham City. We are introduced to Arthur Fleck (portrayed masterfully by Joaquin Phoenix); a dutiful, and caring son who lives with and cares for his mother. Arthur works for a company that sends clowns out to stand in front of shops and provide entertainment at parties.  Arthur’s life is one of great humiliation and delusions of grandeur.

He has wild fantasies about being a stand-up comedian and of meeting one of his heroes, the great Murray Franklin (played by Robert de Niro) a talk show host. He imagines himself in the studio audience being hand-picked by Murray to come to the front of the stage. He is welcomed warmly and the audience loves him. He comes off as a very gentle, mild-mannered, sweetheart of a guy. This situation is merely a fantasy. Arthur, unfortunately, gets walked over, pushed around, and violently attacked several times.From these emotional and traumatic events that cause him to break from his reality.

There are a couple of very well placed  intense twists to the story which push further into the dark realm. We’re exposed to the fact that he does suffer from some mental illness which he does go to counseling for, as well as receive medication for.

I think one of the things I appreciated most about this film is that there isn’t any comic book like elements to this film. The whole film is set in a very realistic type environment and how this all might happen.

Joaquin Phoenix plays this character especially creepy due to the fact that there isn’t a chemical influence, nor is there widespread insanity. There is actually some mental issues that he suffers from, but the thing is he only becomes exacerbated after a series of brutal events in his life. I know I’ve said this before but I found it especially interesting that you get to watch him slowly descend into that realm of insanity; you get to see each protective layer get taken from him.

I think the film has the potential to usher DC into a different sort of medium.If they decide to go forward with this sort of filmmaking, I believe it will be extremely difficult to bring Batman into this kind of realm. I say this because this was set in such a realistic environment and Batman, by his very nature, is more of an over-the-top response to crime being unchecked and uncontrolled. It will be interesting to see if this can even be a possibility.

This film is nothing like we’ve ever seen from DC before. I would dare say that I would like to watch it again just so I can delve further into some of the nuances that I may have missed first time out.

I would highly recommend this film for most, but definitely leave the children at home!!! This, in many ways  a “hard R” because, well there are many films that portray violence and darkness as this one does. The film comes from a very dark psychological place and I don’t think it would be appropriate to expose children to this kind of onslaught.