The Politics of Circularity in Todd Phillips’s Joker

If Fleck appears to have made any progress towards creating his family tree after reading his mother’s letter to Thomas Wayne, he seems compelled to start his search again when he reads his medical record, which not only provides a conflicting version but also his unverifiable rebuttal. From that point on in the plot, it becomes impossible to determine if she was delusional or if she was actually holding Wayne before he used his influence to get rid of her with the complicity of the Arkham State Hospital doctor. This inseparable uncertainty undermines the character’s potential ability to find truth and a place in society.

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In the end, the moment Fleck kills his mother, Benny, symbolizes his recognition of the ever-elusive nature of truth and his quest for self-realization. To some extent, the murder of his mother provides a word-for-word but reverse of Oedipus Freud’s theory, before Flick finally kills the father figures of Randall and Murray Franklin. In this sense, while the revelation of the possible origin of the Joker is announced, the film actually presents a genealogical series of evil: all the paternal characters of the film (Randall, Murray Franklin and Thomas Wayne) betray Arthur and open a path for him. devious to follow before you die and let him develop his original sins in a more modern way. Violence. Although the successive deaths of these three men reestablish the traditional oedipal style that “establishes most forms of popular imagination”, they also indicate the character’s failure to satisfy the “obsessive search to reestablish points of stability” whose origin is in the semi-mythical patriarchal forms associated with forms of power and forms of ultimate knowledge. 2 (Hassler-Forest 24 and 51-52).

5 The murder of his mother also represents Fleck’s abdication of clarifying his origins, as this makes any further confrontation between the two characters likely to present the truth impossible. Through this murder, he not only renounces the truth, but also abandons the idea of ​​the family circle, reminding us of the traditional opposition between the Joker and the notions of family or tribe (Labroud 83-84). Building another bridge between the film and the pre-existing Batman universe, this event also explicitly gives the Joker the same orphan status as his future archrival. The short sequence in which the camera focuses on the face of the character affected by pain after he curved an image of Penny, the handwritten words “Love Your Smile – TW” (by Thomas Wayne) indicate that the process is conscious and painful (Joker 1: 22: 00-1: 22:16). Ironically, Flick’s work takes him to the beginning of his mission, an idea reinforced only by the film’s use of Gary Glitter’s “Rock’n Roll Part 2,” consisting of endless repeating episodes of music. Also, his apartment number is “8J”, with the double ring figure “8” comparable to the vertical transformation of the infinity symbol (∞).

6 However, killing the committing mother irreversibly returns it to the beginning, breaks the loop, and makes repetition impossible. The lasting loss of innocence that ensues, as the murder spree and overt enjoyment of violence later intensifies, comes with an irreversible concession: You won’t be able to explain the traumatic events in your life. As a result, the character can be said to be abandoning Emerson’s classic classifications of hope (innocence) and memory (experience) to embrace what R.W.B. Lewis describes it as “the feast of irony.” Although this observation appears to be anecdotal at first glance, such an observation may point towards a possible interpretation of the entire film: while it is considered uncomfortably pessimistic, it may also appear to convey a message that is not without hope or Lewis-based direction. He maintains that “the common goal of the Irony Party was not to destroy the hopes of the optimists, but to perfect them” (Lewis 192-193).

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