Joker is an Artistic Drama and Psycho Thriller

Joker 2019 movie review from perspective of a guy who’d love to influence people.

Minh-Phuc Tran
7 min readOct 6, 2019


Joker 2019 is about before-Joker life, what built up one of the greatest villains in movie history

A lot of people took the movie so wrong from the time they’re going to the cinema, they expected clever and crazy tricks from Joker who represents poor citizens trying to attack and take their rights from the bad government. They’re expecting another Robin Hood superhero movie. But, the movie is completely not about it and Joker is not another Robin Hood, either. That’s why a lot of people felt upset and frustrated after watching half of the movie.

On the contrary, by the time I’d heard that DC had been filming separate movie about Joker, I’ve expected a before-Joker life. I really wanted to know who was Joker before he became the famous crazy version of himself. He’d probably be just a good, normal but poor and miserable guy living in a chaotic city. There’d be many disastrous events happened to him so that he could not suffer anymore and turnt into a loopy criminal. I wondered how terrifying those events were and how he did manage to go through each of them until he couldn’t. I wondered what made up his creepy smile, too. And the movie is exactly about that. It is conducted so well that though it follows the same flow as I expected I didn’t feel boring but terrified and satisfied for every seconds during the whole 2 hours of the movie.

Because of its focus, the movie isn’t for relaxing moments. It doesn’t have any marvelous action scene, humorous talk or enjoyable victory. The movie is a drama and psycho thriller. Its main focus is to build up a thrilling character’s psychological process that not only terrifies audiences but also shows them the drama behind Joker.

An Artistic Psychological Rise

Living in chaotic city, doing miserable job, being pseudobulbar and being bullied

First 15 minutes of the movie introduce audiences Arthur Fleck, who became Joker later, and his pitiable life. Arthur Fleck appeared cadaverously, lived in Gotham, a leaderless and chaotic city, had a poor and boring life but had to put on a happy face everyday as his job was a clown. Because of his miserable life, he was always bullied by people around him including his boss, co-workers and even teenagers around the city. He also got pseudo-bulbar, a symptom that made him could not control his laughing. He laughed unintentionally everywhere making even good normal people misunderstand and keep themselves away from him.

That starting was already a very painful life but it’s still very common. There’re many people experiencing similar life as Arthur, the short guy in the same working place with Arthur is an example. Therefore, it’s just starting.

Hopes turnt into disastrous pains

After first 15 minutes, audiences are shown different hopes in Arthur’s life:

  • He’s being treated his pseudo-bulbar everyday by a community hospital.
  • He’s not alone. He had his mom sharing his daily life.
  • He checked his mother’s mailbox everyday in hope of being able to get helps from Mr. Wayne, an old boss of his mother.
  • He had an idol, who is Mr. Murray, a very famous comedian in his country. He enjoyed watching Murray’s shows everyday.
  • He had a dream to become a comedian. He went to comedy shows to take notes and learn to become a comedian. He wrote his own jokes.
  • He went on the stage of a comedy show, shared his own jokes and got people laughs and claps.
  • He had a love, a girl always supporting him.
  • He had a father.

With all that, Arthur’s life seemed not boring at all, just not to say it even looked happy.

However, all his hopes were later destroyed one by one by either the society or his illusion.

  • The community hospital helping him was out of business due to unsupportive government.
  • He didn’t know comedy. He watched comedy shows but he didn’t laugh when everybody laughed whereas he laughed when nobody laughed.
  • His mom died unexpectedly.
  • His girlfriend were all made up by his imagination.
  • No people laughed or clapped for his jokes, they’re all his illusion.
  • He was refused by Wayne, whom he thought were. his father.
  • Murray, his idol, took him as a joke for people.
  • His mother, whom he’d spent his whole life taking care of, was a psycho. He wasn’t her son, he’d been adopted.

It’s an extreme way to push Arthur deeper in his already existed tragedies. Indeed, all hopes being destroyed are a lot more painful than not having any hope from the beginning.

The climax

By the time Arthur’d killed 3 guys on the train, all the tragedies started coming to him. All his hopes were destroyed and new pains were introduced.

The climax started from the scene Arthur met Wayne in the toilet. In the scene, Arthur for the first and only time had almost cried begging Wayne accept that he were his father. As being pseudo-bulbar, Arthur always laughed even when he’d wanted to cry, but that scene was the only scene that he’d almost cried, which mean it’s already reached the endpoint of Arthur’s suffering, he could not suffer anymore.

Then, he realized that he’d been adopted and his mom was a psycho. His mom, the only meaningful thing left in his life, turnt out was the one had brought him to troubles from the very beginning. This was like the point bringing him from endpoint of suffering to starting point of dropping his current life and changing to another crazy and violent person. Right after that, he quitted his job and killed his co-worker, Randall.

The climax was at the time he got on Murray’s show. He talked that he’d spent his whole life being jokes for people and he then didn’t want to be a joke anymore. He revealed that he’d killed 3 guys on the train and refused that’s a joke. Several seconds latter, he killed Murray, his idol for his whole life, because Murray also made jokes of him. He’s then become the one would make jokes of people. He is Joker.

Great details

Every details in the movie also contributed a lot to the movie’s final quality.


Happy was the name that Arthur’s mom had used to call him at home. At first, it’s normal. But then when I knew more about Arthur’s life and his laughing, everytime the name Happy was called it’s very creepy.


In the beginning of the movie, the movie shew Arthur were trying to go up the stairs in a dark and tragic atmosphere. It’s like Arthur is trying to live his miserable life better in hopeless.

Near the end of the movie, when Arthur turnt himself into Joker, there’s a scene Joker were going down the same stair in bright and exciting atmosphere. It said that Joker decided to drop all the values that he’d been chasing before and started to live another crazily bad but satisfying life.


The gun was given to Arthur by his co-worker, not taken by himself. That guy later made joke of Arthur by saying that Arthur had bought the gun himself to the kinder-garden, causing Arthur lost his favourite job there. Arthur then used that gun to kill 3 guys on the train, the guy having given him the gun and Murray. It said that Arthur or other poor people are pushed to become crazy and violent criminal, they don’t become by themselves.


The atmosphere was made up so well in contribution to the dark and tragic theme of the whole movie. It includes the color, garbage everywhere, Arthur’s house, the toilet where Arthur danced, etc.

The Meaning

Because of the fact that the movie focused on Joker, every actions of Arthur and Joker looked artistically and seemed to be right, others were all villains and their actions seemed to be wrong. But it isn’t true. A lot of people misunderstood that and said the movie is too negative that they all see the society are so bad after watching it.

Arthur started as a good guy. However, this pitiable guy was so misfortune receiving a lot tragedies while people around him didn’t understand him enough and unintentionally put him deeper in his pain, which turnt him into Joker. Joker is a bad guy and all of his moves were crazy and violent.

Taking this positively, you’ll see that everything happened is due of lack of empathy. If every other people were sympathetic to Arthur a bit, there’d probably no existence of Joker. People may not be who they has first appeared as to us. We need to put ourselves in other’s perspective to understand him.

To me, what I took the most from the movie is to able to see what is the worst tragedy that people could take until they couldn’t and to see how lucky I am in this society so that I know how much I should try more.

There’re ofc some points that I didn’t like or understand in the movie, e.g. appearance of the short guy in scene near the end, the dance of Joker, etc. However, in overall, the movie is doing so well in term of building a terrifying psychological process of Arthur turning into Joker that I don’t pay much attention on such details.



Minh-Phuc Tran

Software Engineer. Documenting my journey at 𝐩𝐡𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐦𝟗𝟕.𝐜𝐨𝐦