Why the Film Joker (2019) Is Despised Most By People - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-03-16
Why the Film Joker (2019) Is Despised Most By People - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Movie
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1932 words
17 min read


Produced and directed by Todd Philips, the film Joker (2019) is a psychological thriller based on characters from DC Comics. Joachim Phoenix plays the role of Joker, a supervillain character that was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. This film is undoubtedly one of the most discussed films in 2019 with conversations coming from the film's making, the artistry, visuals, plot, and aesthetics. The film's portrayal of mental illness, as well as the violence in Gotham, has generated conversations among theatre-goers and movie lovers. Critics have talked widely about the film's content, how it mirrors the current occurrences in American society, and the possible effects the film can influence (Lee). Other people have also appreciated the excellent performances of actors in the film, and how bets they brought out the intended characters. Philip's film is presented as a character study of a person named Arthur Fleck, and how unfortunate or bad chain of events lead to a man's transformation into a chaotic and violent murderer. In most films of this nature, people look at what motivates a murderer to kills their victims, and rightly so, Joker's history of abuse, as well as his psychological condition leads him to a psychotic character taking revenge on those who hurt him. While the film created a buzz even before its release, there was a general consensus that many people had mixed thoughts and feelings about the film and the character Joker. While there were various great elements to be praised and liked, there were other negatives.

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Fuelling Violence

As a recap, the film follows Joker's life from his time as a children entertainer and how he failed as a stand-up comedian and became a villain. Philip introduces Fleck as a happy individual who only wants to make the world laugh and have joy, an objective he attempts to accomplish by being a party clown as well as a comedian. As a mentally disturbed loner, the character later slowly breaks down as a result of bullying, and later becomes a violent killer who targets the innocent. Joker is a great film whose storyline is fascinating, intriguing and upsetting at the same time. One of the major reasons why the film received a backlash is because of the violence portrayed in it. A Film is a powerful media that can influence violence in the form of copycat crimes. Such crimes have been witnessed in the past such as the mass shootings in 2012 which happened at the screening of the film Dark night Rises (Scribner). At the venue in Aurora Colorado, the shooter was claimed to have dressed and acted like the Joker. Despite the long-rumored claims about the man, the rumors were later rubbished. Through a statement release, Warner Bros which is also the production house that produced Joker (2019), protected the film, maintaining that it did not endorse real-world violence (Stewart). Audiences enjoy the action with a lot of gunshots; however, with the emergence of numerous instances of gun violence and mass shootings in many parts of the US, there is public sensitivity to anything that seems to portray violence through the use of guns (Scribner). An association or connection between violence and mental health supports the views of anti-gun-control lawmakers. Audiences tend to be reactionary to films like this owing to the powerful strength of the film as a storytelling medium.

Mockery of Mental Illness

Another problem why the film received a backlash from the public was how the issue of mental illness is portrayed. Mental illness and psychological problems represent some of the issues of which most societies are sensitive. Philip presents Joker as a mentally unstable character who is mistreated by people before he develops insanity and begins killing. People commented on how the film could potentially stigmatize mental illness. The argument was that the film insinuates that mental illness is like a ticking bomb that automatically results in violence (Stewart). Through social media channels, people also addressed how the film misdirects the issue of mental illness because those with mental problems are often "disenfranchised and forgotten," meaning that chances of them turning to violence is rare (Stewart). The film seems to suggest that all those who have been treated badly by society or have become mentally unstable should do something terrible. While the truth in the representation of mental health is valid, it is not always the case that people with psychological problems like post-traumatic disorder can automatically become murderers. The majority of individuals who have had issues with abuse and mental illness have are highly likely to turn on themselves and not others (Lee).

Concerns were raised that people might come out from watching the movie with the jaundiced impression that whenever one is wronged by society, the next action to take is to kill, which is wrong. This film could ignite all those with mental problems or those who were victims of abuse to become violent. In the US, 1 in 5 adults suffers from some kind of mental illness yet; a myth is doing rounds claiming that people should fear those with mental health because of the possibility of violence(Moore). This aspect does not sit well with most audiences. Even though the film projects the fact that mental health patients do not have sufficient resources like stable funding, it turns the patients like Fleck into perpetrators (Stewart). The film rues on the fact that society does very little to nurture those with mental illness. However, instead of showing a positive gesture and showcase how the mentally ill can cope with difficult situations, it turns them into serial killers, a character propagated by the Joker. Fleck's neuroatypicality is not only stigmatized but also coded to create suspicion and used to pretext his resort to violence (Moore). While many people picked issues with this condition, others supported the film's role in unveiling deep problems and struggles of people with mental health issues.

Boredom and Promotion of Negative Thoughts

The film has been regarded by many as boring and promotes negative thoughts. The plot of the film is so predictable because it is easy to suggest what the Joker was going to do next following his failed attempts to rise in comedy coupled with the abuses he went through as a child. In simple terms, it can be summarised as a case of child abuse that causes mental illness that consequently results in a murderous character of Fleck (Stewart). The narrative outcome on which the film is built is well-known to most movie-watchers and filmmakers (Robinson). Going back to the 70s when Gotham city was marred by violence, poverty and classicism, the right expectation was that someone disruptive would emerge to topple the city, turning it into an avenue of madness, but this does not happen.

Frazier Tharpe, a film critic, has asserted that this film was duller than what is expected of a "burgeoning homicidal psychopath" movie. The author has posited that the rushed few killings done by Fleck do not resonate outside of Fleck's personal small world. This assertion means that the actions are shallow to convincingly or fully justify his bloodlust. The fact that Fleck does not significantly bring humor, as the name suggests, has proved disappointing for most people who watched the film (Bradshaw). The fact that the film fails to validate and cement Fleck's transformation makes the movie dull. Philip presents the story from the perspective of Fleck and the occurrences that are happening in his world. It is a constant notion from the film that the character is unhappy and constantly has negative thoughts, and from that worldview, it is okay to see the movie as dull and devoid of anything good. Looking at the same aspect from another angle, characters in Fleck's position are downtrodden, pessimistic and have feelings that everything surrounding them is awful. Such people do not notice certain elements of goodness in life. Arthur Fleck is in the same situation but his predicament is also worsened by the fact that he is suffering from mental illness. All these aspects leave a dull, unmotivated feeling from the audience as there is nothing worth smiling about.

Zero Humor, Hope and Empathy

The Joker has no feelings of hope, humor, and empathy. Films are supposed to be balanced in such a manner that it has sad moments, happy or light moments made of humor, of feelings of hope when a character faces a difficult situation. The feelings in the audience must be kept in check because films can create build-ups of emotions that can be destructive if not monitored. The audience can feel depressed the whole time. Philips is eluded by the art of connecting emotionally with the film's audience. The reason behind this observation is that the characters do not have a way out of their predicaments, other than nihilism, mental health deterioration and deaths. To begin with Fleck, the character's journey is a sad one because nothing he plans to do works (Lee). From his history of abuse, Fleck carries dangerous thoughts into adulthood. His career as a comedian does not thrive at all. To make his situation more complicated, he has a condition that pushes him to an involuntary hysterical laugh. When he visits a psychiatrist, his problems are not listened to. When his treatment is cut short by a shortage of funding for social services, Fleck feels he has reached a wall. Instead of forging a positive way to cope, the film turns Fleck into a violent psychopath who kills everyone irrespective of whether they wronged him or not. Fleck's victims are killed mercilessly without feeling or show empathy.

The negativity that surrounds this film has made the audience watching it feel depressed and emotionally pressed. Philips does not take care of the emotions and thoughts of audiences using the orthodox, reasonable and hopeful means. The only source of redemption for Fleck is through being a psychopath. Only nihilists can find joy in this. Clowns or jokers should carry some humor to neutralize moments of tension; however, this film does not do this making it one of the most painful movies to watch in 2019 (Lee).

No Appealing or Good Characters

The film has no characters who are good people. All the characters that appear in Joker are not decent people that can motivate emotional inclination for most audiences. From film has numerous scenes of harassment like in the streets, inside a train in which a man grabs Fleck's wig, and another hits him hard, and he falls on the floor (Ritzel). The level of violence and hate depicted by this film, as well as the horrific and graphic details that underline its inherent violence does not make it fit to be watched by children. All DC Comics adaptations have been loved by kids because of the heroes and the achievements of their exploits. But this film is not for children as many reviewers and critics have warned. The reasons behind these warnings are because of the graphic nature of violent scenes. Unlike the cartooned versions of the Joker, the performance of Phoenix in this film brings out real fear that is near reality. When scary entertainment confronts people, there is no escapism and the fear encroaches the deepest parts of human consciousness which leaves people with real fear. The film is deliberately made to make its audiences uncomfortable. Most audiences enjoy going to theatres with their children especially when the movies feature superheroes. However, the experiences with children below ten years have been discouraging making most parents shy away from taking their families to theatres to watch this film.

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