Since it’s release, Joker has expanded the cultural conversation examining the state of society, through its glorification of violence. Centered around Arthur Fleck, Joker explores Fleck’s troubling issues with mental health as he’s in war with a world that he feels is against him. Similarly 19 years ago, American Psycho focused on the common subject matter, with Patrick Bateman’s disconnect with his surroundings, fueling two different interpretations of the world
American Psycho and Joker portray two different lifestyles, both sharing the commonality of a loathe with society. Formulated upon anger, Arthur Fleck dissects his frustration with his loneliness, being isolated by a broken society. Gotham City is deconstructed by Fleck’s forms of attack, allowing viewers to recognize the darker side of humanity, as he frees himself into a state of vengeance. The core of Patrick Bateman’s insanity is the tragic irony of a monster who knows who he is, but is misunderstood and is motivated by narcissism. Unlike in the Joker where as the film progresses, the glimpses of Fleck’s troubled journey into a sadistic serial killer comes to life, there’s no explanation for Bateman’s transitioning besides the motivation of self-righteousness. A form of empathy develops as viewers become attach to Patrick Bateman emotions of guilt, as despite wanting to confess, he was viewed as a joke, that couldn’t be stopped.
The narrative to Joker’s character development is through the collapsing of humanity, representing the descend into madness through the pain of isolation. Both films tell the tale of the dehumanization of modern society by the evil of capitalism, both centered around the era of the 80’s. At times you almost root for Patrick Batman, a character who oozes charisma & a lifestyle a man can dream of, but Joker makes you want to sympathize with Arthur Fleck, as a symbol of the troubling effects of having no support for your mental health. Two villains that acknowledge the uglier side of a world that isn’t as beautiful as it seems, while unmasking the chaos within the human life