Cracking up: ‘Joker’ and the mediatisation of the arse-end of the world

Arthur Fleck putting on a happy face.

By Caroline Bainbridge

Excerpt: Joker articulates these interwoven facets of political and ideological history through its central figure, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) – a middle-aged, white, male member of the forgotten underclass for whom poverty, mental ill health, unemployment, and pathological loneliness are the stuff of everyday experience. To say that the atmosphere of the film is bleak remains an understatement, as critics have noted, and reviews sketch it as both ‘essential viewing,’ and, paradoxically, ‘the greatest and most dangerous film ever made.’ The reception of Joker enacts the kind of binarism that is typical of a moment in which danger and despair feel all too real – psychoanalytically, this tendency is described as ‘splitting’ – under threat, the immature unconscious mind prefers to divide its objects into ‘good’ and ‘bad’.” Read the full article here