The film Joker has received multiple interpretations since its release in October of 2019. Many of the interpretations revolve around the apparent delusions of Arthur Fleck and his apparent victimization at the hands of society. These types of interpretations fail to take two important things into account; first, that at the end of the movie it is revealed, or at least hinted that we have been viewing his retelling of his experiences to a court appointed psychiatrist, possibly during his prison sentence or during some sort of competency evaluation after he is arrested. This would place the movie as being told from the perspective of the psychiatrist, we are not witnessing reality, so to speak, but listening to his version of events as he relates them to her.
The delusional-interpretation also fails to consider The Joker, as a classic character, who has typically been a psychopathic clown, devoid of empathy and remorse to such an extent that he finds murder itself to be the ultimate joke. For The Joker, killing is the ultimate indulgence in life and murder and mayhem are his passions and they make him happy and fill him with laughter. The Joker has also always been very manipulative and calculating, often changing his story, altering his truth to fit the needs of the situation, as any skilled liar is capable of doing on a whim.
The common interpretation of the Joker is that most of the movie is delusion, from being attacked by the children at the beginning of the film, to even being saved by the “protesters” in clown masks. This is a naive interpretation of the film, where the trustworthiness of the film’s narrator is taken at face value. Yet the truth behind the Joker as a villain has always been the spuriousness of his words and actions. So if his story were not delusional, what if the opposite were true and the real motivations behind each crime were false?
The Joker may have in fact, orchestrated events so that he could arrive at a situation where he was able to assassinate Thomas Wayne. His plan was to kill three Wall Street punks, murder his mother and murder his girlfriend, both of whom would be the people closest to him who might be able to discover his plan, while gathering a gang together who would pretend to be protesters, and after gaining access to media, as a guest on a late-night TV show, he would commit a live murder on-the-air, which would coincide with the mayhem of his rioting gang, who would be on call, ready to save him from the police so he could get out and shoot Thomas Wayne and his family.
So in fact, what we are watching, might actually be his con, a sick joke he plays on his therapist, where he has lied and lied to her with the intention of getting her to let her guard down, manipulating her long enough to allow him an opportunity to murder her and then begin his escape from Arkham Asylum. So what we see isn’t always the truth, but isn’t always delusion, the film is an alternative set of facts, hehe, presented to his psychiatrist during an evaluation or a weekly visit of some sort. The audience is being fucked with. We are the victims here.
This is the reading of the film I am most comfortable with, as this is in line with the true nature of The Joker. He was not a victim but convincing us he was a victim is characteristic of the psychopath’s behavior, as in the infamous final recorded interview of Ted Bundy, where Bundy claims pornographic material started him down a path of serial murder, essentially blaming society, superficially exonerating himself one last time before his execution.