In the poster of Joker (2019), there is one person who raises the corners of his mouth with hands and forces a smile, but sheds tears. He is Joker, one familiar and popular villain, and this merciless villain looks sad, so it causes some interests in the poster. This is the English version poster of the film Joker made by director Todd Phillips and released on October 4 in the U.S., and on October 2 in Korea. This film was awarded the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion for the first time ever in DC Comics films, which is very unusual in comic book superhero movies. It maintained the top spot at the Box Office for 13 days and was seen by more than 4 million viewers in just 14 days.
As an original character of the Batman film series from DC Comics, the Joker is a character whom many people love. Unlike the original DC world view, Phillips tried to make the new Joker, whose real name is Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), and make the film as realistic as he could. The setting for the film is Gotham City and it is the same for DC, but the times of the film are in the late 70s or 80s different from the DC worldview. Phillips said it is because he wanted to separate the film “Joker” from the world created by DC comics. Like this, different from the original DC Comics, the film deals with a story that Arthur becomes Joker and there is only Joker as a main character, no Batman.
The film starts by showing the image that Arthur made up for his job as clown. In this scene, he watches the news report that there is an overwhelming economic and social chaos and it is the workers’ fault who go on strike or are second-class citizens. In the news, there are no contents about why workers should go on strike or what the government did to end the strike. This indifference appears throughout the film, especially when it comes to Arthur. This is why Arthur realizes there is no place he can stand in the world that is overflowing with individualism.
The film shows how Arthur becomes Joker because of social indifference and violence. In the heartless society, he despairs continuously and become insensitive to murder; Finally, he identifies with his Joker character completely. Nobody helps him when he is attacked by random people on the street where he works as a clown attracting customers. Also because of his involuntary laughing caused by his mental illness, some people do not understand and they think he laughs at them, so they attack Arthur. Arthur’s counselor, who takes on psychiatric treatment-free counseling program managed by the city, says to Arthur, “The city was cut off-budget so don’t come here from now on.” Arthur responds, “Then, where can I get the medicine?” and the counselor answers coldly to his question saying; “They do not care about the situation of the person like you. Of course, they also do not care about the situation of a person like me.”
The end of this film is open-ended, but it is not a happy ending. Throughout the film, there is a lot of black comedy thattell of the hidden and maybe a little uncomfortable truth for people. It says people must not look away from this truth. Like this, in the whole of the film, it shows social indifference very well. The various music that expresses the movie’s mood and Arthur’s feelings also contributed to this movie’s attraction.
In today’s society, People speak mindlessly because they are indifferent to each other, and for this reason, they are sometimes guilty of rudeness. These comments can make monsters like Joker, who is killing people and they committing crimes. They are victims, but their behavior is never justified. These violence and indifferences only lead to more violence. People and government need to be interested in them for stopping this vicious circle. Government has to provide some minimum social welfare for them as well. Director Phillips said, “This film tells the attitude of treating the psychiatric disorder rather than the mental illness itself and we must not ignore that problem.” Like he said, people must be concerned about each other, especially the disadvantaged. Only if the social system and people’s attitude change for the disadvantaged, there will be no merciless crimes or villains like Joker emerging in today’s society.