HomeDC'Joker': How Joaquin Phoenix's DC Film Makes A Case For The Sympathetic Anti-Hero

    ‘Joker’: How Joaquin Phoenix’s DC Film Makes A Case For The Sympathetic Anti-Hero

    The concept of conformity is more lethal than a rabid dog bite. If you fit in, you are good to go. If not, society will call you names and throw stones at you. This perpetuates confusion about being different and misunderstood, and slowly you find yourself on the sidelines. In Joaquin Phoenix-starrer ‘Joker,’ this sense of isolation is deeply felt and triggers the madness inside the helpless protagonist’s head.

    But demons don’t appear out of a void; they have their own stories. There are just as many people as the angels, only on the wrong side of the line. With Joaquin Phoenix at the peak of his powers, filmmaker Todd Philips set the record straight for those who are misunderstood and have no agency to express themselves.

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    ‘Joker’ Plot Explained

    Joaquin Phoenix-starrer 'Joker' is a cautionary tale about loneliness
    Joaquin Phoenix

    It is 1981, and Gotham City is steaming with rage and corruption. The rich keep getting richer off the blood and sweat of working-class people. The movie throws us into Arthur Fleck‘s life as we see him practicing his game face. But soon, the stark beauty of his face vanishes. You can tell something isn’t right with this guy.

    Arthur Fleck is a sad clown with a peal of bloodcurdling laughter. The guy is trying to live his laugh- he works, gets picked off-by kids and adults, looks after his mother, and fantasizes about living a better life. He doodles in his journal, an outlet for his most disturbing fantasies. These entries are meant to be jokes, but when you see what’s on them, all the applause and the laughter stops.

    While he tries to hold on to the final shreds of his sanity, Thomas Wayne tries to present himself as an ideal mayoral candidate. Their worlds soon collide as Arthur learns more of his sordid past. And on one bad, very bad day, he sees himself way over the point of no return. He finally removes the mask that had made breathing such a nightmare. It is when he finally soars and sets off a fire no one can extinguish.

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    How ‘Joker’ Talks About Isolated Grief And A Relatable Anti-Hero

    The audience feels a great deal of sympathy for Joaquin Phoenix's character in 'Joker'
    The audience feels great sympathy for Joaquin Phoenix’s character in ‘Joker.’

    Joaquin Phoenix is mortifyingly brilliant in the skin of the person who rushes into darkness. Whether he tries his damnedest to make people happy, angrily presses a cigarette against a wall, or shows an inclination for other morbid tendencies, you can never take your eyes off him. When he’s there on the screen, everything pales in comparison, even a legend like Robert De Niro.

    Joaquin Phoenix brings his inner turmoil and emotional energy to everything he does, and here also delivers a performance so good it makes your skin crawl and blood turn cold, grabbing throat by the throat right from the first time he appears on the screen. Like it is with all anti-heroes or morally ambiguous people, ‘Joker’ also falls under the bracket of divisive opinion.

    What does it say about us if we come to empathize with a mass murderer who lacks insentience? But it isn’t that story. It is a cautionary tale of an ordinary man tired of people being bold and taking it upon himself to wrong society’s rights, even though he turns to radicalism. Isn’t that how revolutions start?

    ‘Joker‘ is also a wake-up call of how our indifference can bite us back. Look around you, and be friendly to your fellow beings; for times are hard, it doesn’t take much to be kind and help someone along the way.

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    Rishita Roy Chowdhury
    Rishita Roy Chowdhury
    Rishita Roy Chowdhury is the Chief Editor at First Curiosity. She has always been fascinated with the power of words and the need to follow goings on of the world. She likes to spend most of her time contemplating her existence, and escaping reality by reading, writing, and watching movies and shows. So, she made a career out of it in 2017 when she joined ScoopWhoop and extensively wrote about pop culture. To gain more experience of hardcore news, she moved on to the print arena with The Sunday Guardian newspaper where she interviewed celebrities, musicians, sportsmen, authors, chefs, and more. Her love of all things art and culture also led her to review books, movies, series, and restaurants. She tested and expanded her skills by dabbling in the digital space with India Today’s entertainment team. There, she wrote thousands of articles on the world of glitz and glamour. Now, at First Curiosity, she constantly searches and writes stories that resonate with readers and spark their interest. She also manages a team of dedicated writers who share her vision to remain sane in a crazy world with doses of entertainment.

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