I saw the Joker movie over the weekend and it turns out to be one of the only movies I’ve seen in theaters in recent years that wasn’t complete and utter trash. Most movies, in fact, in the last 5 years or so are garbage. We can get into whether it’s the declining average IQ that means movies are pandering to the stupider segments of the population, or whether it’s the fact that on a scale of 1 to 10 the propaganda meter has been turned to a solid 666, but the why is not as important for this review as the fact that movies, if they haven’t always been worthless garbage, are certainly worthless garbage now. But, to the disappointment of my contrarian side, I caved to the social buzz and went to see the ever anticipated clown world movie.
I really didn’t know what to expect going in. Obviously, my interest in the movie was peaked by its relation to the clown world meme, but considering everything coming out of Hollywood is subversive propaganda, I can’t say my expectations were all that high. That being said, I was surprised to find the movie interesting, clever, and relatively well put together despite any of its political implications. Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Joker is fantastic, even approaching Heath Ledger’s famous performance. The story is well paced with few, if any, plot holes, and the general creative aspects of the movie are top notch in almost every way. If I was doing simple film analysis or movie reviews I would no doubt rate Joker highly in every category. It’s rare that I’ve enjoyed a new movie as much as Joker, but the enjoyment of a film may not always be a good thing. The higher quality and more entertaining, the more likely it is to slip in some unnoticed and subtle propaganda. As with all movies and propaganda-entertainment in general, lies are more believable when hidden within many truths. So with that, let’s first take a look at the more truthful or realistic aspects of Joker.
Interestingly enough, one of the first scenes in the movie is relatively representative of reality. The main character Arthur, who eventually becomes the Joker, is working his job as a clown twirling a sign in front of a store on a busy Gotham street. Then, a group of young men steal his sign, lead him on a chase, and eventually break the sign over his head before repeatedly kicking him while he’s lying on the ground. Much to my amazement, this gang was not an all white group of Nazi skinheads that you’d expect from a piece of propaganda, but was instead a group of non-whites. Although the actors weren’t necessarily representative of 13 50, the mere fact that the movie depicted a group of non-whites beating up on a white man for what seemed like sheer enjoyment was surprising enough.
This wasn’t the only scene that showed non-whites as unsympathetic characters. Arthur's non-white social worker therapist is shown to be uncaring and self centered, the non-white mom that Arthur meets on the buss is shown as callous and insensitive, and even Arthur’s love interest in a non-white single mother ends up being the product of his imagination. Overall, the movie doesn’t go out of its way to paint its non-white characters as being unrealistically virtuous in the way that many modern movies tend to unrepentantly force down our throats. Instead, these characters are remarkably human and realistic by modern movie standards. Even single motherhood is not glorified as virtuous, but is shown as something undesirable that leads to poverty in the case of both Arthur’s mother and his love interest. All the while, the most sympathetic character is Arthur himself, a poor, unattractive, lonely, brain damaged, lost white man who is barely scraping by in life and whose only companionship is that of his similarly mentally unstable mother.
The movie spends the first third detailing Arthur’s sad and pathetic life that only seems to get worse. He eventually hits rock bottom when he’s fired from his clown job for bringing a gun to a children’s hospital, a gun that was given to him by a coworker knowing it would most likely get him in trouble. On top of it all, he learns the therapist he sees and the government program he uses to get his medications are being defunded. Arthur is a straight white man abandoned by the system, abandoned by his society. Gotham is crumbling in around him and the other lowest members of society. He is the epitome of the suffering individual with no power over his own life, no power even over his own emotional outbursts. He randomly laughs maniacally due to a mental condition he doesn’t understand and can’t control. Everyone in his life has failed him, including his mother who is eventually revealed to be even crazier than he is.
His mental condition is a unique take on the Joker’s iconic laughter, but this uncontrollable condition is darker than other merely insane iterations. As he sees his life and the world around him crumble into darkness he can’t help but laugh, just as we can’t help but laugh at the insanity of our own clown world. The laughter isn’t one of joy but of sadness, not due to comedy but due to irony, used to cope with reality rather than express pleasure with it. Arthur repeatedly fails to choke back his laughter as he tries to calm himself and accept what is going on around him. The world is as it is, but his mind and body will not allow him to simply sit back and accept it.
Arthur ends up attracting the attention of three white Wall Street yuppies on the subway during one of these outbursts of laughter. The three men harass and beat him just like the gang in the beginning, but this time something is different. This time he has a gun and chooses to defend himself. He quickly kills two of them and chases down the third in the subway station, finally executing him with a few more shots to the back. Arthur never set out to kill anyone. He wasn’t planning on becoming a murderer, but he was given the tools to defend himself and during one of the lowest points in his life he decided enough was enough. Standing up for himself without hesitation in such a brutal way awakens a confidence in him that he had never known before. He is finally able to make a move on the girl he likes in his apartment complex, finally able to stand up to his now ex-coworkers, and finally able to gain the courage to preform stand-up at his local comedy club.
Arthur takes pride in the fact that he killed those three men, and the city’s restless underclasses are praising his actions as an act of political rebellion. Rumors that the murderer was wearing a clown mask cause political protesters around the city to use clowns as their mascot. In seeing this, Arthur feels powerful for the first time. Not only did he take control of his own life, but he did something to make a difference in the world. With this newfound courage he decides to look at the most recent letter from his mother to Thomas Wayne and discovers that Wayne is his father. He eventually finds a way to meet Thomas Wayne in a theater bathroom, and Wayne is predictably and aggressively dismissive, going as far as to punch Arthur in the face. Wayne suggests that Arthur’s mother is insane, and after a quick trip to Gotham’s mental institution he finds out the truth about his mother and his condition. He was adopted, and his mental condition is due to physical abuse when he was a young boy.
The wind is taken out of Arthur’s sails as he discovers his mother’s insanity and betrayal. Once again, his life plunges into darkness and despair, even greater than before. His girlfriend is revealed to be a product of his imagination, and his rage at his mother drives him to smother her in her hospital bed. With his life in complete disarray his only option left seems to be suicide. But with the luck of fate on his side, he is given an opportunity to perform stand up comedy on his favorite late night show hosted by Robert De Niro’s character Murray Franklin. To end his life with a bang he plans to commit suicide on the show as a sort of sick joke knowing that the only reason he was invited on in the first place was so Murray could make fun of him and have everyone laugh at his expense.
This part of the movie is not just there to give the character an arch and help set the stage for the ending, it can also be seen as a metaphor for what happens when one finally decides to stand up against the evils of this world. When you pull back the curtain, remove the mask, light up the darkness, or take the red pill, the world is revealed to be an even darker and more disturbing place than you had even imagined. Arthur started depressed and disillusioned with life, but he wasn’t near murder or suicide, he isn’t even particularly political until the end. All he sees are his circumstances, and he can’t help but think he must at least be partially to blame for his lot in life. Through a series of events he still has little control over, he ends up standing up for himself and making his mark on the world, but his awakening proves even more depressing and fatal than his sleep. He learns of his complete lack of agency in his life, that where he ended up was no fault of his own. He is who he is due to the evil actions of others, and there is nothing he could have done to stop the course of his life from leading right to where he stands today.
As a straight white male, Arthur’s story is the story of many others, even if not as uncontrollable and depressing. Brain damage from physical abuse when you were a child is an extreme case (and was certainly chosen for its directness) but one’s life need not be so dramatic to be an example of being abandoned, mislead, and even attacked by your society and your family. One prominent familial example is that of divorce. The destruction of a family has a severe negative impact on children through no fault of their own. An economic example might be excessive college debt. And a more exact example might be the active, purposeful, and direct discrimination against white men in almost all industries and organizations. This is not to say that everyone’s life is identical to that of Arthur’s. Thankfully, western nations still enjoy a relatively large amount of freedom and ability to pull oneself up by the bootstraps, but freedom and self determination are decreasing by the day. Arthur is the embodiment of the helplessness many people feel under the current political system, and this isn’t limited to white males. Ironically enough, both sides of the political fight feel this way, sometimes even for similar reasons.
Arthur ends up embracing the nihilism he feels from his coming suicide by murdering his ex-coworker who gave him the gun, all the while still showing a human side by letting his midget ex-coworker live after witnessing the murder. Arthur dons the clown costume one last time and makes his way to the late night show, but not before being chased by the two cops who are investigating him for the subway murders. Thankfully for Arthur, he is able to lose the cops by mixing in with a crowd of clown mask wearing political protesters on the subway. Wishing to be introduced as just Joker, due to that being the way Murray refereed to him when showing a clip of his horrible stand up on a previous show, Arthur makes his appearance as cool and confident as ever. Despite originally stating he has no political motivations for wearing the clown costume, Arthur ends up being provoked almost to tears by Murray’s jokes which cause him to go on a rant admitting to and explaining why he killed the three men on the subway. After calling out the rich and powerful of Gotham, Arthur shoots Murray in the head on live TV.
After the murder, Gotham devolves into chaos in the streets. Protesters become violent and start ransacking the city. As he’s being taken to jail in a cop car, Arthur looks around the city and sees the destruction he has created. The protesters break him out of the cop car and Arthur dances triumphantly on the hood of the destroyed car as he takes in the chaos and destruction that he has brought upon the city. All it takes is one man to rally the troops. One man’s actions, for good or for evil, were enough to bring the city to its knees that night. This is the origin of the Joker’s love for chaos and destruction for its own sake.
The message is similar to that of The Dark Knight. When a society has become so corrupt and evil, when it has abandoned its people to lives of desperation and misery, maybe the only solution is the chaotic destruction of revolution by any means necessary. Sometimes it takes one man to show the rest of the people what it takes to change the system, and each of us has our own war to wage against the machine. Maybe the Joker’s methods are too harsh and reactionary. Maybe murdering a TV host on live television is not the way to make positive change, but just as the founding fathers of the United States eventually stood up to the British with violence, there is a point at which violent resistance against tyranny is the answer.
However, resistance in general, and especially violent resistance, may not always lead to a favorable future society. This leads me to the next part of the analysis.
Don’t get me wrong, as modern movies go I consider Joker to be the perfect fit for my first film propaganda analysis associated with RSNBH. It is certainly going in the category of a must watch film for the truth contained within it. However, make no mistake, this is still a movie created by Hollywood. The director is jewish, Joaquin Phoenix is jewish, Robert De Niro is still a degenerate lunatic, and the movie is still about the creation of a villain. Don’t be fooled by the sympathetic feelings Arthur’s character is supposed to elicit, at the end of the day he is still a comic book villain who is supposed to represent evil, destruction, and chaos.
Arthur represents those who have fallen through the cracks in society. As in every country, civilization, society, what have you, people are going to be marginalized or alienated. Yes, these might seem like classic leftist tropes at this point with how often they are paraded around, used as badges of honor to claim special privilege based on victim status, but the alienation and marginalization of individuals in society is a real thing despite it’s current absurdity. Hopefully, in a functioning homogeneous society, those who are on the outskirts, those who are mere victims of circumstance are helped by those who feel a natural sympathy for the members of their group who are struggling. But as we see today, just as in Joker, those who fall through the cracks are left to whither and die.
Yet, this isn’t a triumphant story about an alienated individual who reclaims a place in society or helps the society change for the better. Remember, Arthur is a straight white male. According to political correctness, his sad and pathetic lot in life is thought of as good, righteous, and just. The only individuals allowed to criticize and rebel against the system are those non-whites who want to destroy the white christian majority culture. The fact that whites, and specifically straight white males, may have depressing lives and experience alienation epitomized by Arthur is not something to be concerned with. As I’ve said, Arthur is a villain. His discovery of his power to affect the world, recognition of the corruption of his society, and choice to tear it all down is portrayed as a product of a sick and twisted mind. A mind that, despite being a victim, is intrinsically damaged. The message is clear, any straight white male who feels that the system is not working properly, that he is being purposefully and directly targeted for discrimination, that his culture and values are being actively undermined by the rich and powerful is a morally reprehensible, mentally unstable, destructive agent of evil.
This being the main piece of subversive propaganda in the film does not mean it stands alone. Despite the unflattering portrayal of non-whites in the beginning of the film, Arthur’s ultimate rebellion begins with his murder of three upper class straight white men. Arthur may feel alienated and harassed by the non-whites in society, but the true threat that is causing all this suffering is the powerful straight white men. The rich banking and business types that Arthur murders, the careless elites like Thomas Wayne, and the pompous Murray Franklin are all examples of powerful straight white men that need to be taken down. The fact that many members of antifa are scrawny white male hipsters is no coincidence. To them, fighting for the politically correct positions espoused by every major corporation does not seem contradictory to their self image as righteous freedom fighters rising up against the system and powerful elites.
Arthur looks very different when donning this lens. He may be abused and rejected by non-whites, but he understands their plight is just as difficult and uncontrollable as his. He even goes so far as to stalk and lust after a non-white single mother in his apartment complex, showing his desire to be accepted by them. His decision to stand up against the powerful white male elite can be seen as his decision to say enough is enough. In some ways this story is not completely inaccurate. There are a set of corrupt and deceptive elites who control the global banking industry and many other levers of power. Yet, when you consider the fact that jews are largely over-represented in positions of power and influence in banking, media, Hollywood, and politics, it would be more appropriate to portray Arthur as finally standing up to the powerful jewish elites. But we all know this type of allegory will never appear in a Hollywood film. Instead, Arthur is the rare brave straight white male who chooses to recognized his supposed white privilege and take up arms in league with non-white victims against the powerful white establishment.
As with almost every film, there are two sides to the Joker coin, but what makes Joker stand out is the evenness between the two sides. The movie is receiving relatively lackluster ratings from critics on most of the popular movie review websites. As of this writing the Rotten Tomatoes score stands at a terrible 68% while the Metacritic score is even worse at 59%. It’s fairly obvious the politically correct leftist media is not at all pleased with the narrative. The mere fact that this movie is not packed to the brim with subversive propaganda is enough to make the corrupt harpies of journalism shriek. Yet, some of those on the opposite side of the political spectrum are criticizing the movie for being an antifa wet dream. All the while average people are raving about Joker.
Joker is a fantastic movie for all the traditional artistic reasons regardless of its homage to other films. It’s making a killing at the box office and is one of the most significant movies of 2019. The controversy surrounding the film lends credence to the idea that Joker is a rare movie containing unpopular truths. The more the critics tell us not to watch, not to pay attention, the more I’m sure there’s something important to watch and pay attention to. It’s not all positive. The propaganda is there. But the existence of such a film in 2019 is a welcome surprise.