Joker (2019) screenplay analysis

We mentioned how to make film analysis based on a screenplay before in one of the previous posts which is Film analysis: Conceptualizing a screenplay. In this post, we will present the screenplay analysis of Joker (2019) directed by Todd Phillips.

A still from Joker (2019).

Joker (2019)

1. Subject

The film which is about social marginalization and the effect of social corruption on individuals focuses on the experiences of a failed comedian with psychological problems.

2. Point of view

The film presents society, managers, celebrities, and public employees with a malicious perspective while it has an individualistic approach by underlining naivety and optimism of the main characte.

3. Theme

Marginalization, revenge, rebellion, corruption.

4. Tone

The film presents tragic situations and action scenes together and evokes feelings of pity, excitement, and tension.

5. Characters

Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian in the 80s, has a deep mental imbalance. Arthur has trouble connecting with the people around him and does not have the mental and physical abilities to reach his dreams. For this reason, Arthur deeply hates the people around him and the insensitive society as he is constantly humiliated and despised.

6. Place

The film takes place in Gotham City, an imaginary and dystopian city that is reminiscent of the gloomy images of New York in the 80s.

7. Dramatic elements

The main dramatic element in the film is based on Arthur Fleck’s effort to get rid of his psychological problems and constant contempt and humiliation towards him.

8. Dramatic structure

The dramatic structure in the film is basically based on Arthur Fleck’s experiences.

The 5 main dramatic events in the film are:

  • While Arthur promotes a store on the street with a billboard, he is beaten by street bums. His friend, who works in the same agency as Arthur, gives Arthur a gun to protect himself.
  • Arthur accidentally drops the gun on a clown show for children with leukemia in a hospital. The agency owner, therefore, fires Arthur.
  • On the day of his dismissal, Arthur is attacked by 3 young and drunk men in the midnight subway. Arthur kills all 3 men with the gun.
  • The fact that the killed 3 men were working for the city’s richest men. Arthur’s clown costume coincidentally creates the impression that this murder is a planned protest against social injustice prevailing in Gotham City and this event becomes the start of great social protests.
  • Increased social reaction triggers Arthur’s self-esteem and feelings of revenge. Arthur kills his friend, who gives him a gun and causes him to be fired. Then he shoots a famous showman who made fun of Arthur’s amateur stand-up show on the media. Arthur thus becomes a social figure through the media and becomes part of the big riots.

Note: This kind of evaluation of films ceauses primitive, superficial and categorical results. For this reason, this analysis does not qualify as criticism or review.

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