BY ALI NAQVI –
The final theatrical trailer of Joker 2019 featuring Joaquin Phoenix is out. Shrouded in mystery, suspense and varying shades of comic and tragic elements, Joker has triggered an interesting debate. Who is the best joker, Joaquin Phoenix, Heath Ledge or any other?
It is more to do with the character rather than the actor who plays it. The character of Joker is so deeply rooted in human psychology, social dilemmas and moral dichotomies that it looks fresh and relevant in every age and society.
What Joaquin Phoenix has done best is to be original. His performance it seems is not overshadowed by the previous jokers especially Heath Ledger. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight played an important role in bringing out the chaotic and psychotic nature of the joker. It has become more of a study of human nature and the human condition than just a mere comic character from the DC universe.
What makes us human? The question has been propelling thinkers into nerve racking thoughts since the inception of man’s cognitive ability. In different times, thinkers and philosophers have attempted to explain the differentiations between animals and men.
The most understandable and highly reasonable explanation comes not from philosophy but from science. In fact, it’s a folly to alienate ourselves from the natural world of living organisms. The genetic history of humans can be traced back to the simplest of unicellular organisms.
What makes us human is our ability to remember things more profoundly than any other in the animal kingdom. We don’t forget anything easily. The memories good or bad shape who we are at an emotional and complex psychological level. The story of the Joker is an accumulation of bad memories and experiences that distort his inner self. Eventually the anarchy within started to consume the world outside.
We are all affected by the society we live in. A weak society could produce more psychologically intricate individuals. One way or another we are all psychotic, we are all clowns.
Heath Ledger gave Joker its true identity but there is nothing in the world that could stop other actors like Joaquin Phoenix to add to the story and moral complexity of the character.
“When I was a little boy and told people I was gonna be a comedian everyone laughed at me and no one is laughing now,” says the joker (Joaquin Phoenix). Such are the ironies of social living that could make or break a man.
If society acts the same for all of us, why then some of us rebel and choose chaos over order, peace over violence and happiness over hatred? It may not be a matter of choice.