So let’s not lie the premise for the Joker film is pretty cliche: you have this white man with mental illness who is driven to violence by society. That being said I found myself entranced by the score, the acting and the fact that this is one of those few movies where the director doesn’t try to get us to root for the protagonist, he shows you all of the bad that happens to Arthur but also shows you all of the bad he does, so in a way you feel bad for him but you never wish for him to succeed. Well, at least I didn’t.
Not everyone is ALL good and not everyone is ALL bad. The world is filled with more greys than clear black and whites and that is something that we are struggling to admit but it is something that the film tries to get us to see. It’s funny how the more nuanced, the more complex, the more grey the world becomes to both us and Arthur, the more vibrant the colours in each film scene becomes. You start to see him not happier but freer as he feels sort of liberated by not having to live by the typical black and white boxes that people have been taught to fit in.
In the beginning Arthur believes he is a good person, he believes his mother is a good person but eventually when he goes on the Murray Franklin show, at the end, when all of his delusions about the world are finally lifted, you seem him embrace his bad actions and that he is not a good person but when he calls out Murray for only bringing him on the show to make fun of him, in a way it feels like he is calling us, the audience, out as well for judging him and thinking we’re good people but if the only reasons (using the ones that Murray used) we believe we are good people is because we have not killed or maimed anyone then the bar for being a good person is pretty low and that is why so many people are getting through.
There is that Batman quote about “no one caring who [he] was until [he] put on the mask” and the way that, that fits so perfectly into what the Joker represents in this film is crazy. No one cared for the people in the city that were anonymous, the ones that weren’t rich or holding positions of power, no one cared not until the police were looking for someone that was anonymous.
At the end of the day what sets this movie out from it’s cliche premise is the score, the acting and the director, really nothing would have worked if one these things was off.