Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Joker in the Pack - an agent of chaos

I watched the Dark Knight again recently, and as always, I love the way it ends. How Commisioner Gordon explains why the Batman has to be ‘The Dark Knight’. But this time around, my concentration was on another character.
It struck me about the characterization of the Joker. I am sure that reams have been written about him, and the amazing potrayal by the late heath ledger. We will probably never see him again, since Nolan has said that without Ledger, he wouldnt bring that character back. So, as a character, this is actually good. There wont be another chance to ruin it. I am a purist that way!

To be perfectly honest, the Joker cannot exist. As a story, a concept that had not been done before, its amazing. “Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.” (The Joker, Dark Knight)

One of the things that Nolan very rightly avoided was trying to put a background to a character like that. So while Batman has a past, and Harvey Dent builds a past during the movie, the Joker is really a one trick pony. He's the constant. He doesn’t evolve or change.
We dont know how he really became the way he was. He himself talks about his scar, but, as rightly done, in two different instances, with two differing stories. The only common is that his stories are more to evoke sympathy. How he was wronged. Which is quite funny, since he never really wants to fit in. He just wants to upset the order. He's an agent of chaos.
I think that's cool. That’s purely from a story point of view of course. Alfred points out the story of the bandit that just wanted to rob for the sake of robbing. Which is quite funny, actually. Most bandits do have a motivation, to rob for the money. In order to be motivated to do something purely for the heck of it, or to see the outcome, either you have to be an adrenaline junkie, a social scientist or somebody without any real goal in life.
The funny thing is that the I could see the Joker be all three! That’s what I think. The scientist bit is considering he likes to believe he can predict people’s actions which he does Except at the end when the people in the boat don’t react the way he expected. A consequence of another theory, about how individual action is different from collective action. The Hive Mind concept, Crowd psychology or Hari Seldon’s psychohistory.

The Joker’s motivation is purely his own pleasure. Which is all brilliant!
He creates situations where people have to make a choice. The whole movie, revolves around choice and the consequences of that choice. All characters are motivated to make a choice. The Joker on the other hand, never has to choose. He just does.
So its really interesting how if you really look at it, the Joker is actually not really somebody you can ever associate with. He’s not grey. He doesn’t have a good side. He’s just black (on the inside). With a white face. And red lips. And green hair. And black eyeliner. Wow, that’s scary! And so cool! (Story wise of course.)

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