The Joker Film is All a Delusion

24 Apr

I think the only things that actually happened in the movie are: The Joker/Arthur was in an institution, he was in the apartment in Gotham on an out-patient basis, funding ran out as the social worker says, and he goes off his meds. Then Joker/Arthur sees a random lady that lives in the same apartment building, he formulates a whole relationship with her in his head, he goes to her apartment where she doesn’t know him aside from seeing him a couple of times in the apartment. We are not shown what he does in her apartment (probably something terrible) and we see him dancing in his apartment. We’ve seen him dance before, and it’s usually after murdering someone–it seems to be the only thing that gives him power and pleasure. In that scene, we also hear sirens and see police(?) lights. And I think he was taken back tothe asylum after he did something awful to the apartment “girlfriend.” The rest is fantasy/delusion, imagined in his mind.

The city of Gotham represents Arthur’s mind in this film. The trash is piling up, and rats are horrible. Graffiti is everywhere. Everything is dreary and muted-colors. It’s depression in city-form. There are random acts of violence. The city is what is happening, the mental illness causing depression and random violence, anger, within The Joker/Arthur. Everything we see in Gotham is ugly, and flat-colored. It’s how Arthur views the world.

Clues things are not as they seem:

The colors were my tip-off (I’ve seen Eyes Wide Shut, after all) . The movie spells out that the first late night show scene is a delusion. We seem him watching TV in the apartment, and there is a sudden, inexplicable cut to him sitting in the audience laughing. Everything is very vibrantly colored (to show it’s fantasy). The host’s reactions don’t make sense either-he calls Arthur up front and talks with him. Then we are abruptly back in the apartment. The movie just told us Arthur has delusions/fantasy so we can’t trust that what we’re shown is reality.

The girlfriend is also obviously a figment for much the same reasons. When she is smiling at him, laughing at his comedy, kissing him–the colors are vibrant again. Also, it’s non-sensical, given the plot.

Another easily deciphered delusion is the scene where Arthur slips undetected into the fundraiser. It doesn’t make sense that he can get past the barriers undetected–and that the door is unlocked. Also, once he’s inside the colors are very vibrant again.

The last easy scene to chalk up to delusion is the riot. Everybody is a clown-which is…weird. And the colors are vibrant. There is a pretty unbelievable car crash, which sets Arthur free, and everyone surrounds him chanting for him, rooting him on as a hero-he dances on top of the car… It’s all the fantasy in his own mind.

OK, the other scenes are a little trickier.

We know there is no real relationship with the apartment girlfriend, yet we see her sitting and watching Arthur’s stand-up, smiling and laughing. When we see her, and at the end of his set when we hear genuine audience laughter–it’s the vibrant colors, signaling those aspects are only in his mind. He did a set that was awkward, but there was no girlfriend, and nobody laughed.

The late night show (anything about it, other than the fact it’s on TV) is NOT real. Ala Requiem for a Dream, Arthur is sitting in his apartment (on an out-patient basis) watching TV and fantasizing. Much like the early, obvious fantasy. Arthur wishes he could be on the show, practicing how he would make his entrance, sit, and what he might say–that’s the only thing real about it. The rest is in his mind. When in the hospital room, Arthur just happens to see his comedy clip on TV, where the late night host is poking fun at him. Later, he gets a call inviting him to the show (does that sound realistic?). None of the scene really makes sense as reality. It’s not that usual for a late night host to invite someone they mocked to the show. When Arthur is in the dressing room–the colors are vibrant behind him. Before he goes on stage, the colors are really vibrant. Arthur makes a grand entrance, kissing the other guest in an unrealistic way. He offers that he killed the 3 subway douche-bags, and the interview continues… Another pretty unrealistic happening. Then, after some banter, Arthur blows the host’s head off on live TV. Then he is somewhere else, somehow able to leave despite murder. What actually happened was Arthur watched the late night show on TV, fantasized and practiced for being on it, then in his delusion he saw the host symbolizing his unreachable comedy dream, and also how society makes fun of him. The delusion ended in angry revenge killing.

The gun is not real. We can piece together that there’s actually no gun. Arthur shoots the gun accidently inside his apartment. The neighbors don’t The gun is used to kill the late night host–part of the revenge-fantasy. The gun is used to blow away the representatives of greed, arrogant, mean-bros. The gun is something the apartment girlfriend and Arthur share. It’s how they “meet” and a finger symbol they use repeatedly. I think the gun was created in his mind to feel a sense of empowerment. Arthur feels depressed and invisible, but when he holds the gun he feels power. But there is no actual gun.

And if the gun is not real, neither is the murder of the co-worker. That coworker was much larger-sized than him, yet we see Arthur lift him and bang his head into the wall. Arthur murdered him, and let the witness go… Then went on the late night show, no problem. Earlier we heard a neighbor tell Arthur to shut up when he was laughing one night, b/c they could hear easily through the wall. Which makes walking away from the murder implausible. The gun is a fantasy, which makes me believe the coworkers, or job did not exist either.

Think about it. Arthur has a history of being institutionalized, and his mental illness is obvious, but he goes to the children’s hospital to perform? We were shown that Arthur isn’t funny, or high-functioning, how would he get this gig? And the colors there are bright and white, very unnatural. His gun (which is part of the fantasy) gets discovered at the children’s hospital. The children’s hospital, the clown-job, the co-workers, the gun–are all a delusion. Arthur wishes badly to be a comedian, and fantasizes the whole scenario. But like the rest of the delusions, it devolves and ends in anger and violence. The co-worker who gave him the gun is a dick and double-crossed him to the boss. The boss is unsupportive and fires him. Arthur kills the coworker.

I also think Arthur has no actual relationship to Thomas or Bruce Wayne. Again, Arthur was watching TV and saw Thomas Wayne doing political promotion. He fantasized that Thomas was his father. We see the scene at the fundraiser (which we already decided was pure delusion) and Thomas punches Arthur. It is sudden that Arthur knows where the Waynes’ live and visits them. And he just so happens to see Bruce Wayne at the gate. Arthur is able to talk to Bruce and even touch his face?! They are in the same camel color outerwear, with a high collared white shirt. So Arthur and Bruce Wayne just happened to dress the same. Does this make sense? And he interacts with a mean Alfred through the gate. This scene is only a fantasy in Arthur’s mind. At the riot, a clown attacks Thomas Wayne and Bruce is left in the alley. But we know from other Batman source-materials that it wasn’t a clown who attacked Thomas Wayne leaving Bruce an orphan… I think again Arthur was in his apartment, saw Thomas on TV and had a delusion there was a personal relationship between them. And like the others, this fantasy ends in anger as well. Arthur sees Thomas Wayne as a political figure symbolizing toxic-capitalism, power to silence poor people, and how the city eats up the poor. It went from father-fantasy to an angry killing by someone adjacent to a riot he caused…

Here’s where it gets sketchy.

I think the mother is another fantasy. Her character is very one-dimensional. She is attributed to calling him happy (which is false), and she goes on and on about letters to Thomas Wayne. That’s pretty much all her character offers. The parts where his mother’s “letter” indicated Thomas Wayne was his father was part of the fantasy. In his mind, Arthur connects his fantasy relationship with a mother to the political figure he sees on TV. I think the file, stolen from the asylum is his real mother. But Arthur fantasized it was him and his mom against the world. He imagined they lived together and had a close, caring relationship. He wished he was caring for his mother. Another, tell, is when the police talk to his mother she has a very sudden stroke and is out of the picture. His mind took her completely out of the scene. The police are negative, but the mother-fantasy needs protected from them, so his mind created an ‘out’ for her. The scene with the file was partial-reality. We see the depressing, dreary colors of Arthur’s depression in front of him, when he talks to the asylum clerk. It’s natural he has a memory of being in the asylum, because we know he was committed there at least twice (maybe this scene was not linear, but a memory). When Arthur runs with the file, the colors are the vibrant ‘tell’ that the way he obtained the file is a delusion. So the contents of the file are the truth. In real life, his mother was very mentally ill-to the point of institutionalization. She had adopted him, and neglected him, and some boyfriend had beat him in the head (causing his laughing and other mental illness, which we know are real). When Arthur visits his mother at the hospital, we know it’s not reality, because the apartment girlfriend shows up there too. Also, the late night show featuring him just happens to be on the TV there… And like the other delusions, it devolved into anger. His own fantasy fell apart when he “discovered” in the letter his mom had been lying to him, the fantasy-mother crumbled in his mind. As such, Arthur smothered her.

This movie shows the inside of the Joker’s mind. The setting is actually symbolic of his mental state. Each character is his own fiction. Arthur is low-functioning, starving in his dank apartment. He does mundane things, like watch TV. Part of the time he is institutionalized. Arthur fantasizes that he’s connected to others. And he wishes he had a comedy career. He wants to feel empowered. Since he has none of those things, his mind creates them. But because of the mental illness, even his delusions crack and devolve, which always triggers anger and fantasy-violence.

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