It all started with a joke…

"Joker" hits theaters, spoiler warning!

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Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker. Phoenix is in character as the Joker in a scene where he prepares to do his day job being a clown.

Lexi Gorman, Photographer

This movie is practically the definition of mind boggling. The story follows Gotham citizen Arthur Fleck through his transformation from man into clown. It shows how the events of his life lead to insanity, from past childhood trauma to the appalling influence of society. 

Gotham City, based off of the many Batman comics, movies, and television shows, has always been a city in chaos. But what happened in Gotham before Bruce Wayne put on the cowl and became the caped crusader? There was no hero to stop the chaos. Only a hero of the chaos. Arthur Fleck starts out as a man with a day job as a clown, and at home he took care of his sickly mother. The movie hints that Aurthur has mental issues. It reveals that he spent some time in a mental hospital, and he has a condition that causes random and uncontrollable laughing, a condition developed from brain trauma. As the movie progresses, all sides of society affect Arthur. Whether it was scumbags beating him up on the streets or corrupt rich people, Arthur finally snaps and commits his first insane crime with a triple homicide of some rich guys- right after being fired from his job. 

Throughout the movie Arthur slowly slips further into insanity, pulling the audience along. The film makes viewers believe in his delusions before being shocked to see that it was all in his head. The creators of this movie had to have quite the imaginations to provide such accurate and vivid insight into the mind of a clinically crazy person. Arthur fully snaps into the Joker once he realizes that it’s his mother’s fault he suffered trauma. After murdering her as well as a man who betrayed him, Arthur goes full Joker-mode on live television. He admits to all of the murders, and tells how it was society that made him this way. He causes a full-on riot that causes the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne before finally being put in Arkham Asylum. 

This movie is not for the faint of heart. Not only for the gore of it, but the movie is quite capable of leaving viewers heavily disturbed because of the depiction of mental illness and the gore. As viewers are transported into Arthur’s mind, they realize how realistic the movie is. It’s not the classical tale of a man who fell into a vat of acid and went insane. This shows how society can influence people. It’s the realization of how real this could possibly be, how someone could actually become this way due to mistreatment, that makes this movie so terrifying.