Updated: Mar 2
A Psychological Monologue
Tango is a classical, romantic social dance that is popular among the masses. It takes two so they say. This particular written piece stirs far off - over the edge, in quite a distance - from that common reverie. This movie deserves it all - a brutal eye-opener, a commentary that is unbiased and yet entirely subjective. Similar to tango, reading this essay takes two, a writer's quest to be raw and the reader's serious openness. A counter argument for this film being the topmost, culturally shifting endeavor for the last few decades.
It's a frenzy-inducing, pseudo-proletarian societal wake up call - it's an effective delivery mechanism such as a ballistic missile hell bent on blasting its intended target. In the case of this film, the acquired target are the ones who came in expecting a popcorn fest only to fight their urge to be self-aware. Traversing for that matter, at the very core of each other's vein and thus, every patron left the theater utterly petrified, confused, and perhaps relieved. Watching the Joker is akin to a self-inflicted panic attack and yet the pain is quite satisfying and provocative, therefore you keep it.
The film does not intend for you to believe that life is a tragedy or a comedy but it narrates that it can be. A decision of a singular man to be mad is his own and yet it is monumentally naive to think that the world has not been a dangerous influence.
The film goes through an ethical conundrum amidst a moral and cultural shift transcending our very own reality. It's a much needed love letter to this humanity, it's set in a different period and yet it indirectly parallels our own. The opening act wherein Arthur Fleck was painstakingly applying his clown make-up is a poetic and Shakespearean homage for today's filter-filled society. Admit it, we all have an alter-ego that we are proud of and for the most part, it's merely about the ego and nothing else entirely.
A purposeful life is a lie if that purpose is off of a selfish virtue, sadly, that is the world today with the occasional dust of kindness and purity. For this reason that acts of kindness are hastily featured due to rarity. Acts of kindness are scarce in this film, the few are merely a fragment of Arthur's psychosis such as his imaginary girlfriend and rise to fame from a late night show - these disguised as highlight reels to overshadow his inner misery, but can we talk about how we puts a smile on that kids face while in the bus? Only to get shut down. This mirror real life comedic stand ups being force to alter their jokes to not offend conservatives or political debates being halted because they called the other party a bunch of preposterous liars.
This film has an unspoken cadence on how the world building around Arthur Fleck brought about the emergence of a broken persona. Arthur understood the practicality of pain, not merely the science behind it. He felt loyal to his emotions but betrayed by the reality and so the hallucinations became his welcomed solace - an antidote for the treachery of everyone around him - from his mother, co-workers, and even from a perceived love one.
It's a movie that keeps you seated but uneasy, it does make you feel weary, vigilant, and neurons pacing within you. It's meant to make you feel uncomfortable because that's what it takes for once, to be self-aware and unselfish. The film is designed to uplift the human spirit but first, it needs to break it wide open, from the inside.
It hurts. It felt different. It felt good. How do you feel? Embarrassed that somehow, even for a fleeting instance, you can relate? It's an exquisite act of embracing the shadow that is behind you, the film's narrative is ominous and disturbing but the realism, although heightened, is deeply grounded. It is meant to humanize what has been turned into filtered and generic. The film is unashamed of its thematic and how it mirrors the contemporary way of life. Joaquin Phoenix acted out a man that is misled, misunderstood, cursed with incessant darkness, and he did not possessed the coping mechanisms to fight a battle within the trenches of his soul.
For Arthur, angels above became stagnant spectators as they let the demons below take over, slowly and agonizingly cruel. It's a messed up world masked in a technicolor spectacle, the Joker made it black and white, grey. A world reduced to chaos, madness, and awakening. Finally, a world that he can call home. He cease to exist in the underworld and made it above ground.
The misfits became heroes and the heroes, well, they haven't shown up yet. A prototypical society is designed to always be at odds, with strife proliferating in different forms. Society is almost always meant to implode. We're social beings and yet we falter at the first sign of someone's vulnerability. We castigate them, verbally and emotionally until they're needlessly and helplessly drained to the core. Then all along, it's that person's blunder and he's gone for good with no clear path to redemption.
At the end of the debilitating chaos, the film inherently epitomizes the idea of a man's quest on how to be a purposeful villain, not merely a careless one.
I hope you're not reading this in a state of disarray because I am writing this monologue in troubling times. Times wherein humanity is at a brink of self-extermination due to ignorance and lack of utmost empathy. Our history is yet to be written but so far, the draft is not looking good. It sounds dire with the rare pint of kindness and humanness, no natural flow as many are in chaos, there's no cadence and the tempo is off but there's always a glimpse of hope no matter how dim it is lit.
Are you able to psychoanalyze your existence? How is your soul? Are you honest, deep within the abyss of your conscience? Your bloodstream overflowing with boiling passion, is it misled? or true enough, warranted? Instead of focusing on the events transpiring on the outer rim of your life, have you dissected your life internally? Being able to ask these questions for yourself is a sign of emotional strength and charmingly apt.
Despite all this, life goes on.
Life is beautiful indeed and the world is waiting for you.